“T.I.C. This is China. It’s just a completely different world over here.”
That was Michael Phelps’ assessment after playing golf with Matt Kuchar at Mission Hills golf club in Haikou. He kept he temper remarkably well, despite, hole-after-hole, losing his ball to Chinese fans hellbent on snagging a souvenir. Admittedly, as the video shows, he’s not the straightest hitter, but even when he nails the middle of the fairway, the ball is gone by the time he gets there.
“Someone picked it up and had a pen for me to sign it.”
No particular China angle in this week’s Sports Talk column about Rory McIlroy, but I’m currently working on a piece about Chinese golf – and teen sensation Guan Tianlang in particular – which I will post once it’s in print. Here’s the piece:
When Rory McIlroy signed a multi-million-dollar endorsement deal with Nike earlier this year, most of the headlines focused on the bottom line. Those in the game, though, were quick to point out the risks.
While the world’s press are catching up with news of David Beckham’s CSL deal, a more important signing in the world of Chinese sport in the last week might end up being female golfer Feng Shanshan partnering with IMG.
Feng was the first Chinese player to earn membership on the LPGA Tour after earning her card at qualifying school in 2008 and, last year, became the first major champion from the mainland – male or female – when she won the LPGA Championship. She’s currently ranked number five in the world.
China may have lost out in the recent David Beckham sweepstakes, but that doesn’t mean all is lost. According to the Beijing Youth Daily, Beckham will become an international ambassador for the Chinese Super League, beginning this season.