In a normal year, the winners of the MercedesTrophy would be flown to Stuttgart, Germany — home and global headquarters of the celebrated marque — for the MercedesTrophy World Finals programme. But 2021, still in the throes of Covid-19, has been anything but normal.
With a history dating back 30 years, the MercedesTrophy is a prestigious amateur golf tournament that is open exclusively to owners of Mercedes-Benz cars purchased anytime in the past five years from authorised dealers of the brand in Malaysia. To date, the competition has brought together more than a million Mercedes-Benz customers who love the premium automotive brand as well as the game of kings.
More than 60,000 golfers from 60-plus countries tee off at this exclusive invitational tournament annual on its 31st edition, which was played out over five qualifying rounds around venues in Kuala Lumpur, Johor and Penang. After the national final at the Saujana Golf & Country Club, the eventual victors were Selvan Subramaniam (overall champion), Mohd Ieruan Daud (first runner-up) and Ravi Kumar (second runner-up).
Due to the current pandemic situation and travel to Germany proving impossible, a luxurious, all-expenses-paid golfing experience within the country was instead arranged. The three winners, joined by 2019 Drive to the Major winner Haironnine Esa, found themselves checking into the One&Only Desaru Coast in Johor, acknowledged as the country’s most luxurious beach resort, for three days of pampering complemented by two much-awaited casual tee-off sessions at the neighbouring Els Club Desaru Coast.
Beach barbecues in front of the South China Sea and lavish meals at the ultra-luxe resort’s signature restaurants Ambara and Ember Beach Club made for wonderful breaks in between games while the players’ non-golfing partners also had the option of checking into the Chenot Spa for sybaritic treatments or taking advantage of the resort’s numerous complimentary activities.
It was actor Martin Sheen who quipped, “Anybody who plays golf will tell you that you play against yourself” — but, as the MercedesTrophy participants were only too happy to report, it’s even better when you play with friends, both old and new.
This article first appeared on Jan 10, 2022 in The Edge Malaysia.