Hong Kong's standout female golfer, still only 17, talks to David Cunningham III about the state of her game and her future goals
What have been the keys to your recent on-course success? I believe one of the contributing factors is my fearless attitude. 'See it, feel it, trust it' – this is a quote from my favourite book, Seven Days at the Links of Utopia by David L. Cook and Tom Lehman – and that's what I try to put into action on the course. Also, I really love competition, so that helps! How would you describe your golf game and personality? I would say that I am an aggressive and determined person, especially on the course. I never stop trying until I have reached my goals. Whenever I experience failure, I try to learn from it – to figure what caused that failure, which in the long term actually helps my progress. I always try to keep in mind that anything can happen and that you should never stop trying until the last putt has dropped. Finally, positivity. I always make sure that I am smiling and having a good time. Any experiences in particular that have contributed to your success? When I was 13-years-old I really questioned my future in golf. I wasn't seeing any tangible improvement in my game and I wasn't getting the results I expected. I speculated that I might have already reached my peak. Luckily, with the unconditional support of my parents and help from my coach I was able to see that this was not the end of my improvement; rather, it was just the beginning. I realized that I was not putting as much effort into my golf as I possibly could and as a result, I totally rededicated myself to the game. I have become a much harder working golfer.
What's in Tiffany's Bag? Driver: TaylorMade R9 (10.5°) with Matrix shaft Fairway woods: Titleist F909 (15.5°, 18.5°, 21°) with Matrix shafts Irons: Mizuno JPX E500 (5-PW) with Mizuno R shafts Wedges: Titleist Vokey Spin Milled (54°, 60°) with NS Pro 850 shafts Putter: Scotty Cameron Circa 62 Ball: Titleist ProV1
Says Tiffany: I've increased my distance quite a lot in recent times, which makes it easier for me to be aggressive; I'd much rather be hitting a wedge into the green than an eight-iron. I average around 240 yards off the tee with my driver, while my normal seven-iron distance is 160 yards. I'm not really superstitious but I never play with a number four ball in competitions. I just don't like it. I mark my Titleist Pro V1 with a red line and a red dot. I once made an albatross and I still keep the ball I used in my bag for good luck.
Tiffany Chan in full flow at the recent Hong Kong Junior Close Championship, an event she won. Photo by Daniel Wong 46
HK Golfer・JUN 2011
HK Golfer・JUN 2011
Who or what drives you to succeed? First of all, my parents are the ones who introduced me to the game. They enlightened and aroused my interest in golf. I would not be where I am now without them. Secondly, the amazing support I have received from both my parents, my coach Brad [Schadewitz, the national coach] and the Hong Kong Golf Association has been paramount to my success. I have been a part of the HKGA for almost 10 years now. They have provided me with the chance and the ideal environment to develop my golf game. I am really pleased by what I have accomplished so far, and I really want them to know how much I appreciate everything they have done for me.
The Pro's View: Brad Schadewitz Tiffany is the most consistent golfer in Hong Kong. Her approach to the game and her style of play is just phenomenal. I've known her since she was seven-yearsold and she has just been amazing to work with. I call Tiffany the 'Ice Queen' because I can never tell from her on-course demeanor what she is shooting. This just shows how strong she is mentally; if she has a bad hole she's able to get over it immediately. Tiffany is definitely one of the most competitive golfers I have ever seen. Challenge her and she'll most likely beat you. She's also incredibly hard working. During the school year she'll be at the range for three to four hours at a time working on her swing. The only reason she isn't there for longer is that she recognizes the importance of her school work as well. Summer time is different: she'll be on the range for seven, eight, sometimes even ten hours at a time. Tiffany has a wonderful work ethic across all areas of her life. We've been making some adjustments to her swing recently, mainly focusing on trying to reduce some unnecessary movements that she was making in the transition from the top of her backswing to the start of her downswing. This was costing her some distance. But we've worked through that and she's gained about twenty yards off the tee. This will make a really big difference in her ability to compete. I'm especially looking forward to this year's summer tour of the United States. She's performed very well there in the past and it'll give her an opportunity to show the top college coaches what she's made of. I can see Tiffany going incredibly far in her golfing career. I know that she will attend a top-ranked university because of her athletic and scholastic ability and believe she will be a force to be reckoned with on the college golf scene. I would love to see her win an NCAA Championship and think that she may even become Hong Kong's first ever LPGA Tour player.
HK Golfer・JUN 2011
What is your best-ever round? 64. I had this in 2007 at the Mizuno Winter Junior Tournament, which was held on the South Course at Kau Sai Chau. I played really well that day. It's also the women's course record there, so that's really cool. What are your future goals? To attend university in the United States and play college golf because I believe the high level of competition with really help improve my game, which will contribute to my next goal – making it on to the LPGA Tour. I know that this will be a very difficult task but nothing can hinder my ambition and my drive to succeed. I will never give up until I have reached the top. What advice would you give aspiring junior golfers in Hong Kong? If you have a goal, go for it! Put all that you possibly can into achieving that goal and your hard work will pay off. Set an aim for yourself and strive to be the best you can possibly be.
Club Results Victor Ma won the May Monthly Medal gross section held on the Eden Course at the Hong Kong Golf Club with a 74; Wong Kwing-keung claimed the nett section with a 68 ... At Clearwater Bay, Giles Scott was the gross winner at the Captain's Cup, held April 16, with a 79. Simon Cheung claimed runner-up honours following his 82, while Dennis Mak won the nett division with 71. In the Chairman's Cup, which was held the same day, Jeremy Tang overcame Raymond Chan on count back after the pair had tied on 40 points. On April 20, Diana Ting's nett score of 69 won her the Spring Cup by three shots from Mari Maeda. The Spring Vase was claimed by Cecilia Szeto (69), with Mose Mak (71) taking second place.
How often do you practice? I meet with Brad every Monday at the Asia Golf driving range and every Sunday in our weekly [national] squad game. I'm really lucky to be able to play on many different courses in Hong Kong. Recently I have been working on my distance and short game. I probably go to the range four to five times a week. What about gym time? I have been training in the gym for three years now. I have no doubt that fitness is essential to success in competitive golf. My fitness trainer, Kape Sieber, and I have been working on my overall balance and stabilization because a solid base is essential to a consistent, repeatable swing. My overall fitness level has improved a lot. Who is your favourite professional golfer? Rory McIlroy – I really admire him for all that he has achieved at such a young age. I really like the way he approaches the game, especially his fearless attitude. I would like to ask him about what happened at this year's Masters. It would be really interesting to hear his thoughts. Do you have a favourite course? My favourite in Hong Kong is Discovery Bay and my favourite in the world is Torrey Pines in California. I really enjoy both these courses because they are challenging and beautiful, being set on hilly terrain next to the ocean. The views and scenery are amazing on both. David Cunningham III lives in Hong Kong and writes about junior golf on his website, www.teengolfworld.com HKGOLFER.COM
Van de Velde: My Proudest Achievement
HK Golfer Playing Editor Jean Van de Velde has described the European Tour's decision to award France the right to host the Ryder Cup in 2018 as his proudest achievement in golf. Van de Velde, a frequent visitor to Hong Kong, has been busy over the past few years in his role as an ambassador for France's bid as he winds down his playing career. The 44-year-old, who won the HKPGA Championship i n Ma rch, beca me t he f i rst Frenchman in history to play in the Ryder Cup when he made the European team in 1999. That was the same year he memorably squandered a three-shot lead at the last hole of the Open Championship at Carnousite and ended up losing to Scotland's Paul Lawrie in a play-off. But Van de Velde, a two-time winner on the European Tour, said he wouldn't even trade France's win, which was announced on May 17, for the Claret Jug. "People have different priorities." he said at Wentworth after the decision was made. "You can win a major and disappear. Playing in the Ryder Cup you are one of twelve happy few. "When you think of how many golfers there are in Europe that's quite a big thing," he continued. "I don't have my name on the Claret Jug, but after seventytwo holes I was still close. But this is the proudest achievement of any career." The forty-second Ryder Cup will be staged at Le Golf National in Versailles, southwest of Paris, a course that is home to the Open de France and a popular venue among European Tour players. The French bid emerged the winner after an exhaustive bidding process that also included entries from Spain, Germany, Portugal and Holland.
Amateur Tam Beats the Pros
HK Juniors Show Form in Bangkok
Junior Kitty Tam proved she's back to her very best form with a brilliant victory at the le coq sportif Golf Championship, a professional tournament, which took place at Discovery Bay Golf Club at the end of May. Teenager Tam, who found herself tied for the lead with China's Zheng Yu-ling after thirty-six holes on four-over-par after rounds of 76 and 72, overcame her mainland rival on the first play-off hole by making a solid par. On the men's side of the tournament, Shenzhenbased Korean Lee Joung-wook's eight-underpar total of 136 was good enough to earn him the HK$100,000 first prize. CJ Gatto, who won the HKPGA Championship in 2010, placed second, three shots behind, while Wong Woon-man finished as the top Hong Kong golfer, his total of 142 earning him a tie for third.
Fritz Lo and Michelle Yan flew the flag for Hong Kong at the 2011 Mercedes Trophy Junior Golf Masters Final in Thailand mid May. The duo, seen here with National Coach Brad Schadewitz, each claimed third place in their respective divisions (Fritz in the Boys 12 and under category, Michelle in the Girls 12 and under) at the tournament, which was held at the Rose Garden Golf Club near Bangkok. Other notable performances included Estee Vivian Leung's fourth place in the Girls 12 and under division, wh i le E stee's sister Emily Vickie bagged ninth spot in the Girls 14 and under.
HK Golfer・JUN 2011
AFP (Van de Velde); Patrick Leung (Tam)
"I never stop trying until I have reached my goals. I will never give up until I have reached the top"
What about tournament experiences? When I finished fourth in my age division at the Junior World Golf Championship in 2008. That result greatly improved my confidence and proved to me that I could compete with the best junior golfers in the world. Generally, I have learnt so much from playing in overseas tournaments. By playing with such talented competitors I have been able to discover and evaluate the weaknesses in my game. This has really been valuable in my progress.