Have you ever wondered why golf professionals? bags are as big as a wardrobe? You might naively have imagined that they have to be that size so as to accommodate a set of waterproofs, half-a-dozen pairs of gloves, a matching set of bath towels, two umbrellas, a couple of dozen golf balls and three pounds of bananas. The truth is that they have to be as large as they are in order for there to be enough surface space on them to plaster on all the various sponsors? logos.
Following a megabuck deal with yet another sponsor (his fifth or sixth, he?s not sure), the very popular Darren Clarke might even have to consider up-sizing. Moving to a bigger bag should pose no problems for the Northern Irishman, who is already contemplating moving into a new house on his sponsor?s recently acquired property in Portugal. This will be in addition to his current portfolio of overseas? homes which includes Singapore, Orlando and the Bahamas. There may be more but, like sponsors, it?s not always easy to remember precisely how many.
His latest supporter is every bit as acquisitive as he is. Oceanico Developments are a rapidly expanding Irish property company that has just scooped up a sizeable chunk of the Algarve by buying the famous five courses in Vilamoura ? the Old Course, Victoria, Pinhal, Millenium and Laguna. It?s already building two at its Amendoeira resort near Silves which, when they are completed next year, will bring Oceanico?s total in the Algarve to seven and in the whole of Portugal to ten. A ?2 billion golf and property portfolio is not bad going for a company that only started up in 2000.
More remarkable figures were revealed to me by Dazza when I attended the press conference in Vilamoura to herald the deal. In the first year that he played golf as a lad, his handicap tumbled from 36 to 13 and in the second year to three. Thirty-three shots in two years or ?2 billion in seven? It?s a tough call but it?s the former which impressed me more.