PGA Tour China finally tees off

The long-awaited PGA Tour China Series – a collaboration between the PGA Tour and the China Golf Association – teed off on Thursday at the Mission Hills resort in Haikou on Hainan island, the first of 12 tournaments that will run throughout the year.

The Sandbelt Trails Course, one of 10 courses at Mission Hills, Haikou

The first tournament is at the Sandbelt Trails Course, one of 10 courses at Mission Hills, Haikou

First some background, then some analysis…

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Why Chinese soccer fans deserve better

Roads & Kingdoms has an excellent long-form piece by Gabrielle Jaffe profiling the fans of Chinese Super League team Beijing Guoan, exploring the history of the beautiful game in China and delving into the culture of supporter groups around the country.

China has a higher proportion of female football fans than many other countries

China has a higher proportion of female football fans than many other countries

For those unfamiliar with the capital’s sole CSL team, Beijing Guoan’s crowds last season would rank them eighth in the current list of English Premier League average attendances – above Everton, Spurs and West Ham.

There are lots of highlights, including this:

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China’s F1 antipathy a constant in season of flux

Formula 1 is a state of flux right now. Aside from all the massive rule changes for this season, Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali quit this week, there’s due to be a new US-based team from 2015 and three of the existing teams are reported to be meeting in Shanghai on Thursday to discuss how to make their engines louder, after those new regulations sucked some of the noise out of the sport.

China Grand Prix 2014-2-non_pre_0But the one constant that remains is China’s antipathy to Grand Prix racing. The race at the Shanghai International Circuit on Sunday will be the 11th consecutive Chinese Grand Prix held there, with current or former world champions winning eight out of the previous 10 races. But after the initial buzz, reality set in.

Here are some of the problems:

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PSG becomes Huawei’s jewel in the crown

Despite effectively being blocked from doing anything of consequence in the US, Chinese telecoms group Huawei has been continuing its expansion plans in Europe and elsewhere, thanks in part to an increasingly successful soft power campaign that has seen the firm partner up with a variety of sports properties. In the last year alone, Huawei signed deals with:  Continue reading

Chinese star stands on verge of greatness

Snooker may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but it’s perhaps the best example of the Chinese taking over a sport in a short space of time. Since Ding Junhui won his first China Open title in 2005 as an 18-year-old (he added his second on Sunday), the sport has grown so much here that there are now 13 Chinese in the world’s top 100 players, and five of the season’s 11 full ranking tournaments now take place in China. In TV viewing terms, it’s now firmly established in the second tier of sports (with basketball and soccer the only true Tier 1 occupants). 

Ding Junhui won the China Open in Beijing - his fifth major title of the season

Ding Junhui won the China Open in Beijing – his fifth major title of the season

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Russian politician holds key to China’s Olympic hopes

The most important Russian to China right now is not Vladimir Putin, but it’s a man who knows him very well: Alexander Zhukov. That’s because he has just been appointed head of the evaluation commission for the 2022 Winter Games. In other words, he is leading the team that will select the host city.

L to R: Vladimir Putin, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko and Alexander Zhukov

L to R: Vladimir Putin, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko and Alexander Zhukov

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