Tuli triumphs as Britt Riches nearly killed by Cannes-opener

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.

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It was the perfect Cannes-openers – a great way to lift the lid on TFWA World Exhibition 2007.

Yes we’re talking the annual Moodie International Superstars Honorary Invitation Tournament (MIS-HIT), which drew a star-studded field of 28 to the Cannes Mandelieu golf course on Saturday afternoon.

The event was won by the industry’s form golfer of the moment – King Power Group’s Sunil Tuli (pictured middle) – soon after his triumph in The Smile Train Open in Hong Kong two weeks ago. With his form as hot as a vindaloo curry, the Indian duty free executive and former tea planter, came in with 37 points to head Bahrain Duty Free’s Maurice Burke (pictured top left) by 1 point.

But it was a tree planter not a tea planter that was required as the wind started to blow to what seemed near typhoon force half way through the round. As the gale whipped around the course, the pine tree-strewn course started to suffer. Trees bent like straw in the wind and the field took a buffeting as they tried to combat the elements.

And then near tragedy struck. Britt Riches (wife of World Duty Free boss Mark Riches) and Alyson Lovett (wife of BAT’s duty free chief Neill Lovett) were about to tee off at the long 15th, when they decided a snack was in store.

As they walked off the tee to munch on a Mars bar, they heard a loud crack, a mighty roar and then down came a huge tree exactly where they had been standing (the same tree behind which tree fellas – Jonathan Holland, Art Miller and Alan Edwards – can be seen standing below).

Was it divine intervention from the man upstairs or simply the value of knowing a man (and some great products) from Mars (whose duty free executive Martyn Westbury kindly supplied the snacks)?

We’ll never know but one thing is for sure, if a hunger pang hadn’t struck at a timely moment it might have been the world’s first case of two lady golfers being killed by a Cannes-opener. 

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