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Soccer Saturday LIVE in Tenerife - Golf Tournament

Soccer Saturday LIVE in Tenerife!
For two days Tenerife turned into the home of Sky's Soccer Saturday when Chris Kamara, Phil Thompson, Charlie Nicholas, Paul Merson, Ian Dowie, and Max Rushden came to help raise money for Marie Curie with a charity golf tournament and gentlemens evening.
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Golf Tournament, Tuesday May 24th 2011
The event, featuring Sky Sports’ leading football presenters as team captains, attracted nearly 100 golfers for the scheduled 10am tee-off time.
The Texas Scramble shotgun start was open to anybody wishing to enter a team, and the registration fees played a major part towards vital funds being raised for Marie Curie Cancer Research.
The Sky line-up was led by midfielder Chris Kamara, who began his professional career in 1975 at Portsmouth and went on to play for eight other clubs, scoring 71 goals in 641 League appearances.
Chris, football ambassador of the Cancer Research charity, was a driving force behind the whole project, encouraging his sporting colleagues to join forces with him.
Along came a coachload of them, and first out was central-defender Phil Thompson, who played for the legendary Liverpool sides of the Seventies and Eighties and also represented England 42 times.
Next to emerge was Paul Merson, Arsenal’s striker-cum-midfielder hero, who also played for Middlesbrough, Aston Villa and Portsmouth, and won 21 England caps.
Then came “Champagne" Charlie Nicholas, who starred for Celtic Arsenal and Scotland and loved the London high life!
Former Northern Ireland international Iain Dowie, whose career spanned many clubs as both player and manager, including West Ham, QPR, Hull City and Newcastle, followed him into the Clubhouse.
The youngest of the celebrity team captains was last out of the coach. Max Rushden, from the Sky Sports show Soccer AM, holds a wealth of experience in broadcasting in both radio and TV sports punditry - and he’s only 32!
It took some 40 minutes to register the 22 teams, but they were soon on their buggies and making their way to the respective starting holes.
Kamara and his team were drawn on the first tee, and he sliced his first stroke slightly, sending the ball off towards the right of the fairway.
However, this was not necessarily a bad thing in Texas Scramble. This method of play sees all players teeing off as normal. There are four players to a team and after they’ve played their initial shots, the captain selects the best one.
The position is then marked and the remaining three players retrieve their balls and all four then play their second shot from the marked spot. However, each team member must have a minimum of four tee shots used during the 18 holes.
Play was well and truly underway, and the weather was perfect for golf: a cloudy, cool start with the beautiful Tenerife sunshine breaking though sporadically before revealing itself from behind the clouds gloriously by midday.
Charlie Nicholas reminded us of Scotland’s traditional lack of sun when he was asked if he needed any suncream on his sixth tee starter point. Back came his amusing reply: “Anywhere like Tenerife, all Scotsmen need Factor Duffle Coat to stop burning.”
So, with suncream aplenty, the day continued. Oasis Fm were on the course, with Chris Elkington and Roscoe playing in Max Rushden’s team.
Radio presenter Jamie Drew was also on the course as a roving reporter for Oasis Fm, linking up with the studio during the Breakfast Show with Pip Brown, and later with Joe Ferguson on The Linekers Lunchtime Show.
Oasis provided live updates from different parts of the course throughout, and the Sky celebrities were more than happy to take time out to have a chat live on air.
In one interview, while talking with Joe Ferguson, Phil Thompson mentioned the “bond” between them all when they work together on Soccer Saturday, and the fact that they are all genuine friends.
This was apparent in abundance as the teams moved around the course. A great bunch of guys!
Amarilla Golf has beautifully-kept greens, which seemed a little forgiving, allowing the lesser-skilled players an easier task when holing the ball. The course is also easy to navigate around, with sea views and amazing panoramic views of Mount Teide.
The standard of golf was high and the youngest competitor, just 14, played off a handicap of just 10. After 11 holes, The Jolly Boys were flying at six-under par, but stumbled with two bogies over the next three holes.
But as word got around the course that things were pretty even, the competitive spirit emerged, and teams started to up their game.
The “ping” sound of a great drive was more apparent on the back nine than the ungrateful “thud” of badly-hooked shot heard quite a few times on the front nine.
As with all sport, elements of luck played a part as the wind changed often, gusting across the fairway for some, then hardly at all for others, allowing longer and more accurate flight of the ball. This is obviously advantageous when playing the Texas.
A Sky Sports TV crew were also on the course, documenting the day’s golf action and conducting interviews with the Soccer Saturday boys, which was set to be aired last night (Thursday).
As the teams finished their final holes and began returning to the Clubhouse, staff at the bar were suddenly very busy!
Scorecards were handed in and the scoring process began. The teams stayed at the Clubhouse for a short while, chatting and exchanging stories of their experiences throughout the day.
They then made their way to the Terrace Bar, just down the road at Pebble Beach, for the main presentation and barbecue.
Oh yes, Phil Thompson’s team were a nose, I was told from a reliable source!
Jamie Drew

To see all photos from the day, please click link here>>
(All photos courtesy of Sir Old Golfer)

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