The PAL Interclub : A Philippine Golfing Tradition
Founded 63 years ago, the Philippine Airlines Interclub is the country's oldest, largest and most prestigious golf team competition -- widely acknowledged as the national clubs championship of the Philippines. The PAL Interclub's stature derives from two factors: the high level of competition -- it is a showcase for the country's best golfing talent -- and the strong team spirit and fellowship among its players.
From the start, the PAL Interclub has been about gathering golf aficionados from across the country and overseas for an annual reunion, where they could renew old friendships and gain new ones. Participants return year after year, not so much as to win the championship -- though that is a principal goal -- but to bask in the warmth of fellowship and tradition.
There are no grand prizes in the PAL Interclub. There is only the knowledge and honor that one has competed with some of the best golfers in the land. This, plus the remarkable camaraderie among its players and its hallowed history of 60 years, has imbued the PAL Interclub with a unique character and made it an enduring institution of Philippine golf.
Today, the tournament looks ahead to its next 60 years with certitude of a seasoned golf professional, proud of its past and confident of its future.
The PAL Interclub Story
Early in 1947, Mr. Leopoldo Rovira, assistant traffic and sales manager of PAL, arrived in Cebu City on one of his inspection trips. On the night of his arrival, Major Ramon Zosa, who was the Cebu station manager, rounded up a group of Mr. Rovira's intimate friends for a get-together. Among those who showed up were Mr. Buenaventura Veloso, PAL's human-resources manager, and Mr. Ben Gaston of Bacolod City, a personal friend of PAL president Andres Soriano.
Mr. Rovira first broached the idea of bringing together golfers from all over the Philippines to compete in an annual tournament among their golf clubs. Such a tournament, he explained, would go a long way in promoting the spirit of camaraderie among golfers and, at the same time, reap goodwill for the airline. PAL accepted the idea and the "PAL Trophy," worth the then princely sum of $1,000, was bought from the United States to serve as the perpetual symbol of Interclub supremacy.
The inaugural Interclub was held in 1948 at Wack-Wack Golf and Country Club in the town of Mandaluyong in suburban Manila, with the host club emerging as the first champion. The following year, the tournament was staged in Cebu and nearly every year thereafter, has been held in a PAL destination outside Manila.
In 1988, a separate competition for players 55 years old and above, called the Seniors Interclub, was initiated to serve as the curtain-raiser for the regular Men's tournament. Luisita won the inaugural staging of the Seniors Interclub in Cebu.
In the Interclub's 59 years, Canlubang has won the PAL Trophy 13 times, Bacolod 10 times, and Wack-Wack seven times. In the Seniors Interclub, Luisita has triumphed in 12 of the event's 19 stagings with Villamor winning four times.