The Island Games are a big deal for Cayman.
Some of our best athletes get to display their skills abroad across various sporting disciplines and often times they come back with plenty to show for their efforts.
The Games are slated to officially start this Saturday in Aland, near Finland. One of the sports Cayman is sending a team to compete in is golf.
Golf has had its ups and downs in Cayman but these days it is wholly heading upwards with plenty of competition and star talent on island.
One of the sport’s greatest claims to fame is the dominance of local kids Samantha and Johnny Widmer. Both excelled in the youth section of the game growing up and have gone to colleges in the United States that better their golf abilities. Samantha went to Elon University while Johnny is at the University of Colorado.
Now the Widmers have starring roles on Cayman’s adult golf scene. Proof of that can be seen in their automatic selection to this year’s Island Games team.
Samantha Widmer, 22, is back in Cayman for good and spends her days at Ernst and Young. For her the Games are a great way for her fellow Caymanians to raise their status.
‘It’s a unique opportunity for young Caymanian athletes to show their hard work and dedication. Even though Cayman is a small country we can compete at any international level against larger countries.
‘Cydonie Mothersill is an example of that. She didn’t just get to the Olympics, she had to train hard and compete in other competitions like the Island Games.’
However the Widmers are not the only stars on the team. Three elder statesmen in Robert Chilman, Tracy Moore and Robert Woods round off a five-member team that has a solid mixture of youth and experience.
Chilman has been a force on the local men’s circuit for years with his consistently low scores. His driving ability and confidence in his chipping has earned him acclaim in tournaments like the Caribbean Amateur Golf Championships and the Cayman Amateur Championships.
Moore has quietly gone about making birdies on Cayman’s golf scene for a number of years. His calm putting has served him well in many competitions. However Moore is most notable for making a 345 yard hole-in-one last May on the par 4 tenth hole at the North Sound Golf Club.
Woods is arguably the most experienced player on the team. Having represented Cayman for over a decade in tournaments abroad, Woods serves as steady, calm figure on the side. He has not been too shabby with the club either as his swing has stayed true over the years.
Prominent local golf figure Bob Slatter is the manager of the Island Games team. Slatter is in a unique position as he has played with and against most of the team members.
In fact Slatter’s playing days are far from over as he is set to partner with Tom Crawford in this year’s Caribbean Amateur tournament in Turks and Caicos this summer.
A veteran of many Island Games squads, Slatter feels this year’s side is one of the best ever and should bring home a medal.
‘For our team this year Johnny and Samantha were automatically selected as they were in college and unable to be here for the qualification process. The other three guys had to qualify for the team.
‘This is the first year we have selected a team of such a high calibre. I’m really excited about our chances. Frankly I would be disappointed if we don’t win a medal there.’