Singh swings, Irish Village rocks

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One of the year’s industry highlights ended on Thursday, as the 18th Dubai Duty Free Golf World Cup climaxed in victory for local businessman and supplier to Dubai Duty Free, Gurbax Singh (pictured centre with the Dubai Duty Free team and Irish golf pro Des Smyth).

It was an event that combined superb and terrible golf (The Moodie Report’s representative Dermot Davitt veered between both, often on the same hole), wonderful camaraderie and one of the great social nights of the calendar at the Dubai Duty Free Gala Dinner in the Irish Village.

With a stableford points total of 41 and 37, Singh’s was a target that fell well out of reach of the rest of the field, though several among the international competitors performed creditably, including well-known travel retail industry veteran Thomas Venables (who posted a solid 72 points), with Roek Van Wieringen a point further back.

Overall Ladies visitor winner was Nancy Miller with a grand total of 60 points, seven points clear of Satnam Singh, the overall Dubai-based winner.

Bringing up the rear of the field was Camus Cognac’s Richard Ferne, who after a disappointing round on day one, pledged to double his score on day two. That he duly did, ending up with two points for the overall tournament.

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Speaking at the presentation ceremony, Dubai Duty Free Managing Director Colm McLoughlin (above) reflected on his recent return to Dubai after a hip replacement, and announced his determination to compete in the 19th running of the event in 2011. He also singled out some absent friends, among them The Moodie Report Publisher Martin Moodie, who could not take part due to illness.

McLoughlin also reiterated the company’s ambition to hit US$1.25 billion in sales in 2010, from US$1.14 billion in 2009, as the growth of the world’s biggest travel retailer by a single location continues apace.

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Away from the course (the event was held at the Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club and The Els Club respectively) the Gala Dinner underlined its status as one of the great social nights, with entertainment from Irish performers Pure Craic and Crystal Swing, and with a surprise but welcome stunning solo by Jill McGuire (above) among the big highlights.

It’s one of the few nights of the year where, if you are not dancing on the tables by the end, then you are in the minority. As the frantic waving of the tricolour flags (below) also attested, this night is also a celebration of Ireland, and Dubai Duty Free’s success is certainly one tribute to the country’s achievements in aviation abroad.

Though it’s a year away, those of us who have returned to snowy Europe are already allowing our thoughts to run ahead, to the sunshine, the craic and to the 19th Dubai Duty Free Golf World Cup. Roll on 2011.

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