23-year-old Alexander Levy became the 20th different winner in 20 years of the Volvo China Open on Sunday, thanks in large part to his scorching 10-under-par round of 62 on Friday. It was his first career title and he comfortably held off challenges from the likes of Henrik Stenson, Ian Poulter and Francesco Molinari.
Bubba Watson’s second Masters title last weekend may have strengthened his challenge as a potential successor to Tiger Woods, but some compelling signs about the future direction of golf were seen at Augusta a few days earlier. Below is a real picture of the leaderboard at Augusta National, with the names Xu, Huang, Li and Cheng at the top, listed – correctly – as champions.
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.
First some background, then some analysis…
The Chinese Super League season kicked off this past weekend, and goals were few and far between. Ominously, though, the top of the table is already occupied by Guangzhou Evergrande…
That’s Online (also in the print versions) has a nice profile of Darci Liu, China’s first and so far only female professional surfer, who, amazingly, only learnt to swim at the age of 18: Continue reading Sports round-up: CSL, surfing, golf, tennis and the invisible Paralympics
While China waits for Li Na’s Australian Open semifinal against Canadian teenager Eugenie Bouchard, here’s an interview I recorded with CNBC just before Christmas, which discusses: Continue reading China Sports Insider Ep. 3 – Golf’s growth in China (CNBC)
Chinese golfing prodigy Guan Tianlang made global headlines in April by becoming the youngest golfer ever to make the cut in a major championship, aged just 14. Now at the grand old age of 15, Guan was again competing against the pros last week, this time at the Hong Kong Open.
The China Open tennis has long been in the books: the 10th anniversary of the tournament saw a dream men’s final between the top two seeds, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, in which Djokovic won, but Nadal regained the world number 1 ranking. But as the best male players in the world face off in London at the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals, it has emerged that this dream final came within a whisker of not happening at all. The reason? The pollution was so bad that Rafa Nadal almost refused to walk out on court.
In a dramatic final day in Shanghai, Dustin Johnson clinched the HSBC Champions title at Sheshan International Golf Club. He began and ended the day with a three-shot cushion that might have looked comfortable, but in truth was anything but. After Johnson three-putted the 1st for bogey, he saw playing partner Ian Poulter draw level after birdies at 1 and 2, and then Graeme McDowell – the other member of the final group – also share the lead after opening with three birdies.
To say scores were low on Saturday at the HSBC Champions at the Sheshan International Golf Club in Shanghai is something of an understatement. The top five players of the day combined for a total of 41-under-par. Five players. Leading the way was Martin Kaymer, now in 7th, who shot ten birdies for a course record of 62 – beating the mark of 63 he tied two years ago while winning this tournament. Next came Ian Poulter with a 63 (2nd), and Graeme McDowell with a 64 (3rd), and so on…
[UPDATE: Fresh off his Hainan payday and his visit to the Venetian Macao, Tiger spent Friday at the Marina Bay Sands casino-hotel in Singapore, where he held a clinic for young golfers and dyslexic children. Again, call me cynical, but the kids + special needs combo is fooling no one: clearly it’s easier to bank a large, guaranteed sum for a couple of hours of work than fight it out over four rounds with the other pros, even if the $8.5 million on offer this week in Shanghai means there’s plenty to go around. These promotional appearances, by the way, have apparently been in the pipeline for “well over a year”, meaning they would have been on his calendar before any golf tournaments were added].
Tiger Woods flew into Hainan in his private jet on Sunday night, picked up a reported $2+ million for swearing his way around a golf course on Monday, and then made the short flight to Macau on Tuesday, where he visited the Venetian resort. Continue reading Tiger Woods looks east for earning opportunities [UPDATED]