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Planning for 2004  
The European Tour season may be winding down, but our efforts for 2004 are already cranking up. There may be an end-of-term feeling as we enter Madrid week and the final chance for next year's cards to be won, but commercially this is as busy a time as any. Player contracts have to be dealt with in readiness for the new campaign; equipment and clothing deals have to be sorted and corporate sponsorships have all to be finalised.   That's why in the last few weeks I have amassed more frequent flyer miles than a British Airways pilot - hopping here, there and everywhere to negotiate and complete deals for our players.

The last few days have been particularly eventful for after accompanying Darren Clarke to a corporate day with Jaguar at Turnberry, we went across the Irish Sea to complete more work for his Foundation and then it was back to Queenwood in Surrey for a corporate outing with Barclays Capital and the excellent company of their president Bob Diamond and their global communications director, John Anderson.

It is always interesting to listen to Darren when he is speaking publically.   In his press conferences, he has to be a little more guarded in case anything is misinterpreted, but when he has a private audience he doesn't hold back.   Some of the clients must have been a little bit surprised at the frankness of the answers to their questions, but that's Darren.
 
Attending his Foundation is always very rewarding especially when you see the development it is prompting.  One 13-year-old last year was a three handicapper and returned 12 months later playing off plus one.  That kind of progess is very heartening. The Barclay's Capital people are also excellent to work with and Darren's Foundation is now 75,000 better off thanks to their generosity.
 
Now I am in Madrid and although there are plenty of meetings to attend, there will also be time to take in a football match involving a chap by the name of Beckham.  Don't suppose he needs a manager for his business interests? 


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