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 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…
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.
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…
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]
Apologies if you read the headline and were expecting a story about a dance producer on the rampage in a glitzy club. Marginally less rock and roll – but only by a whisker – was Dustin Johnson’s 9-under-par round of 63 on Friday at the HSBC Champions that took him to 12-under, five shots clear of Bubba Watson, Boo Weekley and first round leader Rory McIlroy. DJ’s round was four shots better than anyone else and included ten birdies and a lone bogey on the 10th.
It turns that hollow one-shot victory against a sick, rusty and disinterested Tiger Woods in Hainan may just have done enough to get Rory McIlroy’s season back on track. Paired with Jason Dufner and Luke Donald in the opening round of the HSBC Champions in Shanghai, McIlroy opened birdie-bogey. But six birdies in nine holes took him to -6, and another birdie on the 8th hole (his 17th) put him at -7, two shots ahead of last week’s winner Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and chopsticks maestro Jamie Donaldson. McIlroy rated it as his best round of the year.