In case you’ve been following – or not following as closely as you wanted to – the HSBC Champions, Asia’s World Golf Championship, our intrepid founding editor, Dan Washburn has been covering the event and what it means for China on ESPN.com. Check it out:
- Before the games kicked off, a discussion of the growing popularity of the sport in this country and the story of a little girl who became a top-ranked junior golfer after meeting Tiger Woods during his first visit to China.
- WGC-HSBC Champions Day 1: Nick Watney takes the lead. Tiger Woods doesn’t do quite as well, thanks in part to the screaming fans distracting him – though it should be noted that while he may be golf’s No.1, he doesn’t even crack the Top 50 of most recognized foreign athletes in China.
- WGC-HSBC Champions Day 2: Watney and Woods tie. Woods gets used to the peanut gallery of overenthusiastic, rules-on-being-quiet-not-taking-pictures bending fans. We feel sorry for the marshals who have to keep these groups (often numbering into the thousands) in check.
- WGC-HSBC Champions Day 3: Phil Mickelson jumps to first. Also, is golf’s inclusion in the Olympics going to turn China into a putting powerhouse? People are divided. While one camp feels like the government will most definitely pump money into the game for its prestige, others point out that golf courses aren’t technically allowed to be built here (technically) since the arable land they use compete with slightly more important things… like food.
- WGC-HSBC Champions Day 4: Over 18,000 people watched Mickelson win the Champions with a -17. And how they swooned. Apparently, Mickelson’s a real crowd charmer – signing autographs, taking pictures, giving out his birdie balls to fans – and China, ever impressed by foreigners who act like they really like China, may have found its new golf god.
Also worthy to note: While the attention has been on foreign golf players this last week, what about the local pros? Unfortunately, even if the sport is getting more popular, these talented farmers-turned-golfers/waiters-turned-golfers/kung fu master-turned-golfers could be falling by the wayside, says Washburn’s Golf World cover story.