Two Dubai based officials will tackle the biggest roles of their golfing careers when the world’s greatest players tee up at the Earth course, Jumeirah Golf Estates this week for the 2011 Dubai World Championship presented by DP World.
Although Barney Coleman from England and Canadian Buddy Morin are no strangers to the world of golfing rules and regulations, the pair will be on the biggest stage of all when they take on the roles of European Tour Guest Referees for the likes of World Number One Luke Donald and 2011 Major winners Rory McIlroy, Darren Clarke and Charl Schwartzel.
“I’ve worked as a referee at the past three Omega Dubai Desert Classics and four Omega Dubai Ladies Masters as well as a European Senior Tour event,” said 32 year-old Coleman, Golf Services Manager at Emirates Golf Club. “I worked at the PGA for just over three years mainly as a tournament administrator for national events and the PGA Europro Tour, while during my final year I refereed a number of events having passed the R&A Rules Examination.”
Like Coleman, 54 year-old Morin – an International Sales Manager for a USA-based company – has a wealth of experience to draw upon.
“After refreshing my study of the Rules of Golf at the R&A Referee School in St. Andrews and at the USGA Rules Workshop in Far Hills, New Jersey, I was a referee at the Egyptian Open on the Challenge Tour and at the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters,” he said.
“This year, I was also a referee at both the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, while from 2009-2010 I was Chief Marshal at the Dubai World Championship presented by DP World.”
Working at the grand finale of the 2011 Race to Dubai, with the endorsement of the Emirates Golf Federation, gives both men a chance to be part of golfing history as Luke Donald aims to become the first player to top the money lists in both Europe and America.
But while Donald targets sporting immortality, for Coleman and Morin – both six handicappers – it will all be about letting the players do their job with the minimum of fuss and interference.
“My duty will be to assist players with any rule queries and to offer feedback to the referee team in terms of pace of play,” said Coleman, while Morin believes that team-work is the key.
“The role of a referee is to serve as a member of the Rules Committee and Referees Team, to observe play, provide guidance and information on the Rules to the players, be available to provide rulings, apply the Rules of Golf, and perform his duties impartially,” he said. “It’s a total team effort and communication amongst the Referees and Championship Tournament Directors is an important element.”
While the top 60 players in The Race to Dubai prepare to fight it out for the magnificent trophy, a slice of the $7.5 million prize money and a share of the $7.5 million Bonus Pool, for the referees there is still time for some last minute homework.
“It is obviously important to review and remind yourself of the Rules of Golf, and Decisions on the Rules of Golf as well as all other special instructions provided by the Chief Referee and Championship Committee,” said Morin.
“But I’m looking forward to the experience of refereeing alongside some of the world’s most knowledgeable officials from the European Tour and learning from them at what is a wonderfully organised tournament.”
For Coleman, however, there is still the occasional electronic nightmare to consider.
“In terms of fears I guess a tricky ruling with a faulty or flat radio would be up there,” he said with a smile. “But that is very unlikely and I’m just looking forward to working with such a professional organisation as The European Tour.”