A hacker?s dream
By TONY WHITE
GRAFTON real estate agent and former professional golfer Kim Dahl could never have imagined a chain of events that led to him personally mixing with the world's elite golfers including Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh.
Earlier this year Dahl, 52, and close friend, Mount Warren Park, Queensland, club professional Gary Burmester, accepted an offer from Australian friend David Townend to travel to China for this month's HSBC Champions event at Seshan International Golf Course, 20 minutes drive from Shanghai.
Townend is the resort general manager.
"I was talking to David and he said he was running a tournament in China with a limited field and suggested I come over," Dahl said.
"I thought it was a good opportunity and a chance to maybe help out as a marshal or scorer."
However, much to Dahl and Burmester's surprise, the pair ended up acting as a 'protector' to the world's No.2 golfer Fijian, Vijay Singh, for five days.
"David came up to us and said Vijay's got the dirths. Tiger's (Woods) got four security guys and he wanted the same. David asked us if we could be a protector for Vijay," Dahl revealed.
"We could hardly say no."
The intense rivalry between Woods and Singh is legendary in world golfing circles.
For five days, Dahl and Burmester were up close and personal with Singh, Woods and many other world stars.
"We escorted Vijay through the whole tournament," Dahl said. "And we got to play with the likes of Nick Dougherty (England), US Open winner Michael Campbell (New Zealand), Jean Francois Remesy (France), KJ Choi, Paul McGinley and Thailand's Thawaorn Wiratchant, who finished in the top 10.
"We saw some real great golf. The winner David Howell from England is a very good golfer."
Dahl is no slouch on the golf course. After representing NSW as an amateur he turned professional in 1977 and played on the Australian tour for around two years, playing in all the major tournaments.
He is a former coach and still registered as a scratch marker and hoping to soon return to the seniors tour.
Dahl had some interesting views on VJ's golf, his demeanour and some of the rising stars on the world tour.
"A bloke I know who has been a professionaly involved for 30 years says VJ is the best player in the world but probably the worst putter you could imagine," Dahl said.
"I believe he has an alignment problem with putting. He's got a pure stroke but can't putt.
"Tiger (Woods) obviously hits the ball a long way but VJ hits it pure and long every time. His ball striking is just great to watch.
"He is a very focused golfer. He's self taught and dedicated. He doesn't believe in coaches. He certainly doesn't show much personality though, other than his golf but you cannot question his work ethic.
"From the time he arrived at the course to the time we left, he was always the last to leave.
"And there is just fierce rivalry between Tiger and VJ. They just want to beat each other all the time."
Dahl predicted, Michael Campbell whom he has known personally for several years, as 'a super star on the rise.'
And his tip for the future is a young Australian with roots in Grafton ? 23-year-old Queenslander Stephen Bowditch.
"He's no got a limited touring ticket and is a real star in the making," Dahl said.
"His roots are from Grafton. I went to school with his dad and uncle. Stephen is a good kid, level headed and really going to make the big time."