Joy's Diary: Ashleigh Simon all smiles and brilliant digital board at Dubai Ladies Masters

Joy Chakravarty
Joy's Diary: Ashleigh Simon all smiles and brilliant digital board at Dubai Ladies Masters

South African player Ashleigh Simon signed off her final round with a disappointing double bogey seven on the par-5 18thhole, and yet walked off the golf course with the biggest smile on Friday…and a sparkling diamond ring in her finger!

Romance was in the air during the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters on Friday and David Buhai, Simon’s boyfriend for nine years and caddie for six, dropped down on his knees and popped the question as soon as his “boss” finished on the 18th.

Simon, who was playing in the second group of the day, was unaware of the whole situation, but Buhai managed to involve several Ladies European Tour staff members and the organisers ‘golf in DUBAi’.

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So, as soon as she finished the round, almost 50 odd people appeared on the green, including the Sky Sports camera team. Congratulatory message flashed on the giant screen and flower bouquets were handed over to the pair.

An overwhelmed Buhai said: “Always wanted it to be in Dubai, the season finale, and I knew she wouldn’t expect it. I got my sister to make up the ring and it’s been a process trying to hide it ever since getting here.

“So today, it was in the bag obviously and I was pretty nervous because she kept going into the bag. I was like, this is my bag, what do you need out of it. She was starting to give me a strange few looks.
“But yeah, somehow managed to hide it, and thanks to the Tour, because obviously they have done a lot of work behind the scenes in keeping it hush."

Simon said she never suspected anything.

“I saw all these people behind the green on 18 and I’m thinking someone behind us must be having a really good round today. Yeah, I really didn’t expect that at all,” said the two-time LET winner.

It was the third on-course proposal in professional golf tours this year. Mark Hubbard on the PGA Tour was the first to do so during the AT&T Pro-Am at the stunning Pebble Beach in February, while Denmark’s Andreas Harto chose the crowded 16thhole of ‘Made in Denmark’ tournament in August to propose to his girlfriend.

Digital scoreboard

The new digital leaderboard put up at the media centre for the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters was just brilliant.

It was made up of two separate giant LED panels, and with the field cut down over the last two days, one part of it functioned as a scoreboard, and the other as a TV screen.

The resolution of the screen was very good, and the numbers, although smaller than the tradition ones used in manual leaderboards, was of the correct size and visible from most part of the building.

It greatly reduces the chances of errors and miscommunication between the team of college kids who used to be volunteering along with the scoring system providers, and the updation is quicker as the interface is linked straight to the scoring feed that also goes into the official website.

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