Headlines last week left readers with little doubt about the state of golf in China:
- “Golf banned for China’s Party members” (CNN)
- “Communist party commands its 88 million members to abstain from playing golf” (Guardian sub-heading)
- “To fight corruption, China officially bans golf for party cadres” (Washington Post)
- “China just banned 88 million people joining golf clubs” (USA Today)
- “Communist Party bans club membership” (BBC)
- “China tees off against golf, gluttony in anti-graft drive” (Reuters)
- “Stocks, Sex and Golf: China’s Ruling Party Targets Temptations” (Bloomberg)
Pretty clear, right? Well, actually, no. As this article from shougolf.com points out [in Chinese], it turns out that the Washington Post and the BBC (its two main targets) and others jumped the gun somewhat on their “China bans golf/golf club memberships” headlines.
The HSBC Champions teed off in Shanghai on Thursday and, despite attracting 40 of the world’s top 50 golfers, the Chinese won’t be paying much attention. That’s because there’s no Tiger Woods and no Rory McIlroy.
Tiger has an excuse – he’s been injured and hasn’t played since August – but Rory? Officially, he’s preparing for a court case 4-6 months from now. Unofficially, he’s tired after a long season, China is a long way away, he’s still likely to win the big end of season climax without playing here, he won’t make as much money as last year, or perhaps a little of everything. Whatever the truth, it doesn’t reflect too well on McIlroy – and it hurts Chinese golf too. This week’s Sports Talk column is below: Continue reading Rory’s China snub does double damage
The Chinese are getting up in their millions to watch the World Cup, and as expected Brazilian Neymar is becoming one of the main stories (this piece on Neymar’s China’s strategy is worth another look). But other things are happening too. Here’s a selection of interesting stories from the past few days (the first two of which feature some special China Sports Insider insight!).
This is exactly what the PGA Tour – and Nike – would have hoped for when it launched its China Series earlier this year. 27-year-old Shanxi native, who signed with Nike almost exactly a year ago alongside 19-year-old Li Haotong, finally won a tournament after a succession of near misses. He now leads the overall standings in the race to win one of five spots for next year’s US-based Web.com Tour, itself the feeder of the PGA Tour.
May was a busy month.