Golf: Broadhurst consolidates Ryder rise: Sponsors consider Sky the limit

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The Independent Online
PAUL BROADHURST, a proven front runner when he has got his spikes on, gained the most significant victory of his career yesterday when he won the Benson & Hedges International. He has moved from the doldrums to the crest of a wave and as he received a cheque for pounds 91,660 it did not concern him that this could be the fag end of a beautiful relationship.

Benson & Hedges is in sport - golf, cricket and snooker - to sell its products and as far as it is concerned the most attractive aspect of its commitment is the BBC's TV coverage. Cigarette companies cannot advertise on TV. BSkyB has made the European Tour an offer it thinks it cannot refuse. The problem for B & H is that its contract with the Tour, which comes up for renewal in 1995, centres on its relationship with the Beeb.

In its sponsorship of cricket B & H gets an audience on BBC of between three and five million viewers. When it tried Sky two years ago the figures were about 350,000. 'Very poor,' according to Jim Elkins, the special events director of B & H. 'We are a UK company and it must be the BBC,' Elkins said. He is hopeful that this arrangement will be maintained but added that he was unable at the prize giving here to say that the company would be back next year.

'We have no wish to withdraw from golf,' Elkins said, 'but we wish to be part of the BBC package. If it's Sky we'll have to reconsider our position.' Sky has a relationship with Trans World International, which is part of Mark McCormack's empire. The only tournament that seems to be secure in the hands of the BBC is the Open Championship, which is run not by the Tour but by the Royal & Ancient. McCormack is on good terms with both organisations.

Broadhurst, who is 27 and who comes from Atherstone in Warwickshire, is not a client of McCormack's International Management Group. He is with the former professional Andrew Chandler and yesterday Chandler, who likes a bet, was kicking himself. The bookmakers had Broadhurst at 50-1 to make the Ryder Cup team. No chance of those odds now. He is seventh in the points table. When Europe takes on the United States at The Belfry in September Broadhurst will probably be in the team. He was in the last Ryder Cup at Kiawah Island two years ago when his record was played two, won two.

He took a two stroke lead into the last round yesterday and won by one from Ryder Cup colleagues, Mark James and Jose-Maria Olazabal. Broadhurst shot 71 and although he finished with three bogeys in four holes, he could afford to. He distanced himself from the rest by going out in 33, three under for the round and when he birdied the 13th he was was an unprecedented 15 under par for the championship.

James, who scored 69 and who was playing in front of Broadhurst, was in a position to force a play-off until he made a mess of the 18th. He missed the fairway on the right, was forced to lay up short of the pond and was left with a shot over the water from 65 yards. A par four of 472 yards, the last is a tough enough hole without the pin being placed on the back left, directly behind the pond. 'I was aiming for a minuscule target,' James said. He missed it and ended up on the bank on the left. 'Then,' he said, 'I was history.' He left his chip short and had a double bogey six.

Broadhurst also missed the green at the 18th, also ended up on the bank left and also left his chip short. The difference is that he took five. 'If I didn't make five I thought I'd be the biggest choker ever,' Broadhurst said. Last season he was playing so erratically he was almost allergic to his clubs. 'I wanted to get away from golf totally,' he said. 'I was desperate. My manager told me to get off my backside. If I'm confident anything can happen.' He rediscovered that confidence after teaming up with the Scottish coach, Bob Torrance. 'I was a birdie, bogey man,' Broadhurst said. 'I've got to get rid of that tag.'

BENSON AND HEDGES INTERNATIONAL OPEN (St Mellion, Cornwall) Leading final scores (GB and Ire unless stated): 276 P Broadhurst 69 69 67 71. 277 M James 68 71 69 69; J-M Olazabal (Sp) 67 72 68 70. 279 J Haeggman (Swe) 69 69 71 70; G Brand Jnr 67 69 71 72. 281 N Faldo 70 70 74 67. 283 V Singh (Fiji) 68 75 70 70; C Montgomerie 70 72 71 70; R Chapman 70 72 65 76. 285 A Murray 73 72 74 66; A Gillner (Swe) 74 68 72 71; S Ames (Tri) 75 67 70 73. 286 M Farry (Fr) 73 74 70 69; C Rocca (It) 70 72 74 70; C Mason 74 73 69 70; P McGinley 72 70 73 71; P Lawrie 72 77 65 72; R Goosen (SA) 76 68 69 73; D A Russell 70 72 70 74. 287 R Karlsson (Swe) 73 74 75 65; S Field 76 71 71 69; G Evans 72 69 72 74. 288 D W Basson (SA) 74 71 70 73. 289 M Poxon 72 72 74 71; D Clarke 76 68 74 71; M Roe 73 71 74 71; D Gilford 69 76 72 72; M-A Jimenez (Sp) 74 73 69 73. 290 P Senior (Aus) 74 69 77 70; P Curry 72 77 68 73; J Sewell 70 76 70 74; A Oldcorn 71 70 71 78. 291 W Riley (Aus) 75 73 72 71; B Lane 69 75 75 72; S Struver (Ger) 67 74 78 72; J Carriles (Sp) 75 72 72 72; J Parnevik (Swe) 81 68 70 72; A Hunter 77 68 71 75.

RYDER CUP POINTS TABLE: 1 B Lane 303,457.11; 2 C Montgomerie 254,214.12; 3 N Faldo 247,777.50; 4 M James 243,424.08; 5 J Spence 210,577.65; 6 D Gilford 181,065.93; 7 P Broadhurst 175,938.81; 8 S Lyle 172,109.01; 9 C Rocca 167,944.84; 10 M-A Jimenez 167,288.18; 11 S Richardson 165,377.91; 12 B Langer (Ger) 164,751.48; 13 M Roe 154,337.91; 14 J Payne 152,606.24; 15 J-M Olazabal 152,179.17; 16 S Torrance 151,555.95; 17 G Brand Jnr 131,307.76; 18 A Forsbrand (Swe) 125,381.04; 19 R Karlsson 122,652.50; 20 D Feherty 113,374.

ORDER OF MERIT: 1 James 170,001.67; 2 Gilford 151,192; 3 Broadhurst 135,302.14; 4 Rocca 123,713.57; 5 Torrance 121,348.27; 6 F Nobilo (NZ) 119,447.33; 7 Faldo 114,575; 8 Montgomerie 103,350.41; 9 W Westner (SA) 99,980; 10 Brand Jnr 93,487.10; 11 Basson 88,086.10; 12 Olazabal 85,679.17; 13 Lane 83,998.16; 14 Payne 82,604.73; 15 Spence 77,907.50; 16 R Davis (Aus) 75,863.33; 17 S Richardson 73,289.41; 18 Haeggman 70,076.67; 19 E Romero (Arg) 68,097.49; 20 J Van de Velde (Fr) 67,244.16.

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