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2018 Season Preview









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HK Golfer Issue 131

January 2018

30 On the Cover:

37-year-old Wade Ormsby follows in the footsteps of fellow Aussie Sam Brazel to claim his maiden victory on the European Tour, as Rafa Cabrera Bello settles for second once again. Photo by Daniel Wong



26 | HK Pride - Tiffany Chan

10 | Divots

Tiffany Chan continued her dream journey on the professional tour by qualifying for the LPGA with an impressive second place finish in the LPGA Q-school. By Louie Chan

30 | UBS Hong Kong Open Review

Australia’s Wade Ormsby won his first European Tour title at the 264th attempt after a nerve-wracking finish at the UBS Hong Kong Open. By Louie Chan

40 | Masters Champion - Sergio Garcia

The Master Champion talks about his life after winning the Green Jacket. Interview by Louie Chan

44 | 2018 Season Preview

It will be interesting to see who barks and who bites during the Chinese Year of the Dog. By Mike Wilson

54 | Asian Angle

Gary Player speaks about the bright future of male Chinese golfers. By Chung Choo Chiang

Daniel Wong

64 | The Kilted Caddie

16 6


What would you do if your coach asked you not getting too hung up on your unorthodox backswing? By The Kilted Caddie

News and events from Hong Kong and the region. By The Editors

12 | In Focus

A pictorial review of the last 30 days from around the world. By The Editors

19 | Tee Time

Corum’s Lady Golden Bridge Round 39mm is innovative and unique – in great part due to its eminently visible inline movement construction. By The Editors

23 | Around the HKGA

The Golf Development Director looks into how the top 12 players in Hong Kong fared in the 2017 season. By Jonathan Wallett

60 | The Meaning of Golf

W hy c a n’t mo st gol fer s st ay “ i n t he z one ”, maintaining t hat interna l happiness a nd concentration, enjoying a purity of purpose? By Craig Morrison

72 | Crossword

This issue: A Look Back at 2017! By Dr Milton Wayne

74 | Final Shot

Yoshihiro Nishi, President of the HKGA, talks about his best ever round and favourite courses. Interview by Louie Chan HKGOLFER.COM

HK Golfer


Managing Editor: Louie Chan Contributing Editors: Dr Milton Wayne, Faye Glasgow, John Bruce, Nathan Goulding, Keith McLaren, Paul Jansen, Evan Rast, Mike Wilson, Robin Lynam. Art Director: Derek Hannah Photo Editor: Daniel Wong Administration Manager Cindy Kwok Publisher: Charles McLaughlin Published by:

TIMES INTERNATIONAL CREATION Times International Creation Limited 10B Lockhart Centre 301-307 Lockhart Road Hong Kong Phone: +852 3590-4153 Fax: +852 3590-4533

D E PA R T M E N T S 10 Divots 12 Global Focus 14 Asia Focus 16 Local Focus 19 Clubhouse 23 Around the HKGA 40 Interview 54 Asian Angle 60 The Meaning of Golf 64 The Kilted Caddie 72 Crossword 74 Final Shot

In association with: Advertising: For advertising information, please contact: For purchasing information contact: For subscription information contact: Hong Kong Golf Association Suite 2003, Olympic House 1 Stadium Path, So Kon Po Causeway Bay, Hong Kong Phone (General): +852 2504-8659 Fax: +852 2845-1553 Phone (Handicaps): +852 2504-8197 Fax: +852 2504-8198 Email:

HK GOLFER is published by Times International Creation, 10B Lockhart Centre, 301-307 Lockhart Road, Hong Kong. HK GOLFER is published monthly © 2017 by Times International Creation. Published in Hong Kong. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is strictly prohibited. PRINTED IN HONG KONG. 8




UBS Hong Kong Open Charity Cup

Since its inception in 2015, the charity tournament has raised more than HK$6 million, to become one of the highest-grossing fundraising events on the European Tour circuit. Canton-pop singer, Hacken Lee, who became Charity Ambassador of the 2017 UBS Hong Kong Open Charity Cup earlier this year, has helped raise awareness of the tournament that gives local golfers an opportunity to play on the composite Championship Course at the Hong Kong Golf Club, which is available for play just nine days each year.

Proceeds from this year’s tournament, which attracted nearly 200 players, together with funds raised from Charity Dinner and matching donations from Asian Foundation (Friends of Asia Hong Kong’s sister foundation), will go to five local charities that focus on children and youth’s physical and mental health and wellness: Benji’s Centre; Chicken Soup Foundation Limited; Internet Learning Resources Centre; InspiringHK Sports Foundation and Music Children Foundation Limited. Dr Caleb Chan, Founder and Chairman of Friends of Asia Hong Kong, the official charity partner of the Hong Kong Open since 2014, commented: “We are promoting sport as a platform to help local youth develop physically and mentally. This year, the beneficiaries have increased to five from four last year, and we hope that the dollar-for-dollar matched fundraising will become a trend in local fundraising initiatives.”

Bali’s Bukit Pandawa Named ‘World’s Best Par-3 Course’ The year-old layout won ‘World’s Best Par-3 Course 2017’ at the World Golf Awards ceremony in southeastern Spain, an annual celebration of excellence in golf tourism. It was the first time in World Golf Awards history that voters could select the world’s top par-3 course. “The inclusion of such a category says volumes about the future of golf,” said JM P Golf Design Group’s Bob Moore, who conceived the 18-hole, par-54 course overlooking the Indian Ocean and accepted the award on Bukit Pandawa Golf & Country Club’s behalf. “We are embracing courses that have not historically been included in our perception of great golf experiences. “I believe that one of golf’s strongest growth markets lies in the creation of courses that can be played in relatively short time frames while providing a non-intimidating experience for young and beginning golfers. Bukit Pandawa is an example of beautiful golf design applied to a non-traditional layout.” 10


The 18th hole at Bukit Pandawa Golf & Country Club in Bali The imaginative collection of 18 championship-standard one-shotters was one of four finalists for ‘World’s Best Par-3 Course 2017.’ Turtle Hill Golf Club in Bermuda, Cromwell Golf Course at Nailcote Hall in England and The Zhang Lianwei Course at Mission Hills Shenzhen in China were also in contention for the award. HKGOLFER.COM


HKGA Annual Sponsors Golf Day


Hong Kong Golf Association

The HKGA held its annual Sponsors Golf Day for the fourth consecutive year to look back and celebrate a successful 2017, while looking forward to a more exciting 2018. Representatives from golf clubs, driving ranges a nd ot her spon sors a nd suppl iers, a long w it h members from the media, joined the HKGA staff for a stableford tournament at the Discovery Bay Golf Club. The golf day was subvented by the HKSAR government regarding the HKSAR’s 20th anniversary. A complimentary golf clinic was also held at the Discovery Bay Golf Club for Tung Chung Catholic School students in association with the HKPGA. DBGC was very generous to provide students with free lunch, snacks & drinks. The Sponsors Golf Day finished with cocktail in the evening followed by buffer dinner at the clubhouse. While guests were enjoying the wonderful food and wine, Tiffany Chan, the first Hong Kong golfer to qualify for the LPGA Tour, and several Hong Kong Team squad members including Leon D’Souza, Taichi Kho, Leung, Isabella Leung and Michelle Cheung were invited to share their thoughts and visions about their golf career and took questions. The lucky draw was definitely the highlight of the night with valuable gifts from our generous sponsors.



Global Focus Always the Newsmaker Tiger Woods once again made a return to competition in the Bahamas at the tournament he hosts. This time around he exceeded nearly every expectation, twice shooting 4-under 68 while tying for ninth among the 18-man field. Having re-tooled his swing following fusion surgery, Woods appeared relaxed, happy and healthy while briefly taking the lead during the tournament’s second round. What lies ahead for Woods in 2018 remains uncertain, as the stop-and-start nature of this past season serves as a cautionary tale. But after a harrowing arrest and another serious surgery, he seems once again focused on his game, intent on chasing down a new crop of elite talent, some of whom are barely more than half his age. Woods projects to have a light schedule before the 2018 Masters. He has not played in a major championship since 2015, and has not won one since defeating Rocco Mediate in an 18-hole playoff at the 2008 U.S. Open. He has announced to play the Genesis Open, February 15-18 at Riviera Country Club in California, as the Tiger Woods Foundation serves as the Genesis Open host organization. Photo by AFP/Getty Images

Asia Focus Green Named Asian Tour Player of the Year Malaysia’s Gavin Green was named the Asian Tour Players’ Player of the Year to cap off a fantastic 2017 season where he also won the prestigious Order of Merit crown. Green was recognized by his peers through a voting process for a highly successful season where he won his first Asian Tour title at the Mercuries Taiwan Masters and finished second thrice. The big-hitting 24-year-old made history by becoming the first Malaysian to win the Asian Tour Order of Merit with earnings of US$585,813. He is also the econd youngest player to win the accolade. Green was delighted to receive the honour after an intense 12 months Order of Merit battle where he came out on top against Asian Tour stars Scott Hend of Australia, David Lipsky of the United States, S.S.P. Chawrasia of India and Thailand’s Phachara Khongwatmai. “It is a huge honour to receive the Players’ Player of the Year award which is recognition for all the hardwork I’ve put in this year. This is another feather in the cap in my career and I will continue to work hard and strive for more success,” said Green. Photo by Asian Tour

Local Focus D’Souza Claims Top Placed Amateur Trophy The 19-year-old Hong Kong Amateur played well all week and claimed the top placed amateur trophy at the UBS Hong Kong Open. Leon D’Souza, an Open debutant, also set the Hong Kong player’s lowest scoring (even-par 280) and highest position record (tied 41st), since the tournament has been co-sanctioned by European Tour and Asian Tour. “I must thank the Hong Kong Golf Association to have given me all the training and support in all these years. The HKGA junior development programme is beginning to bear fruits, and I can see many talented young players are emerging. My success in the UBS Hong Kong Open is only the tip of an iceberg. I must also thank the Hong Kong Golf Club, The Clearwater Bay Golf and Country Club, The Jockey Club Kau Sai Chau Public Golf Course, Discovery Bay Golf Club, Shek O Country Club, the Government of HKSAR and Hong Kong Sports Institute. Their supports to junior golf development is immense all these years," said D’Souza. Photo by Daniel Wong


Away from the Fairways | TEE TIME




F The colorful natural resin elements of the variations of the Golden Bridge Round are housed within a gold micro structure “cage” set with diamonds 20


ounded in 1955 in La Chaux- and creativity - when fine watchmaking de-Fonds, Switzerland, Corum becomes legendary. Early in 2016, Corum revisited a round has made creativit y and daring its guiding principles. design of the G olden Bridge with the The brand is continuing along introduction of the Golden Bridge Round, the path mapped out by its th e manuall y wo un d inlin e b a gu et te shaped movement CO113 founders and was housed in a 43mm remains truer “The combination round red gold case than ever created by renowned to the iconic collections of round case and responsible for its identity beautifully engraved designer Dino Modolo. N ow Co r um re t ur ns and reputation, while and finished inline with a new Round model enhancing them with a sized for a woman’s wrist touch of modernit y that movement turned that likewise allows the combines innovation and on its side perfectly observer to see how one cutting-edge technology. complement is able to think outside the The Golden Bridge proverbial box to create co ll e c t i o n h a s b ro u g ht one another.” an as tonishing play of light to the watchmaking world for 37 years. Several models in the geometry featuring round and rectangular Heritage collection, such as the 20 Dollars shapes. Following the design codes of art Coin Watch, have left an enduring mark on deco, the Golden Bridge Round focuses on watchmaking. Meanwhile, the watchwords the harmonious electricity between shapes, of the Bubble collec tion are modernit y materials, and functionality. The combination HKGOLFER.COM

of round case and beautifully engraved and finished inline movement turned on its side perfectly complement one another, while the extra embellishment of precious resin and diamonds surrounding the fully visible caliber add color, sparkle, shine, and eye-catching brilliance. The colorful natural resin elements of the variations of the Golden Bridge Round are housed within a gold micro structure “cage” set with diamonds and handcrafted embellishment. The diamonds are expertly set by a local Swiss artisan. T he pinnacle of Corum’s colle c tion, this tim ep ie ce in i t s many ver sio ns is innovative and unique - in great part due to its eminently visible inline movement cons truc tion. T he G olden Bridge’s uncommon caliber is sheathed in sapphire crystal, allowing the skill of the watchmaker to be fully appreciated from every angle. “The Golden Bridge is the capstone of Corum’s collections, an illustration of Swiss horology at its best,” said Jerome Biard, CEO of Corum.

Right: Corum Lady Golden Bridge Round 39mm Pink; Below: Golden Bridge Round, the manually wound inline baguetteshaped movement CO113 was housed in a 43mm round red gold case created by renowned designer Dino Modolo





Our Best Year to Date Jonathan Wallett looks into how the top 12 players in Hong Kong (six male and six female that make up the Hong Kong Talent Team) fared in the 2017 season.


Daniel Wong

Leon D’Souza had a breakout year, with of course the best Hong Kong performance in the UBS Hong Kong Open



2016 was a memorable year for Hong Kong due to the achievements of Tiffany Chan, notably qualifying and then putting on a fine display at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Tiffany has further excelled in gaining her playing privileges for the 2018 LPGA Tour by finishing 2nd at the Qualifying School last month. But I believe a golf program cannot base its success or failure on one player so let’s 2017 was the best season ever for the Men’s team. In November last year, there was just one player in the World Top 1,000 Matthew Cheung at 891. Leon D’Souza had gone backwards from WR 950 in 2015 and was sitting at 1,150 in November 2016. Currently, there are four male players within the top 1,000 - a Hong Kong record - with Ben Wong leading the way has improved from 1,640 to 376.

Leon D’Souza was another who had a breakout year, with of course memories fresh from the best Hong Kong performance in the UBS Hong Kong Open since it’s been a co-sanctioned European Tour event. He went from 1,150 to 659 in the world ranking. Terrence Ng entered the top 1,000 at WR 971 after being ranked 2,105 in November 2016. Matthew Cheung showed substantial improvement jumping from 891 to 671 with an international win in China. Yannick Artigolle was another who had a season to remember climbing from 3,870 to 1,431. And then Taichi Kho who had a strong performance in some tournaments including the PGA TOUR-China’s Clearwater Bay Open, where he finished a credible 24th. Taichi improved from 2,066 to 1,630 with a very bright future.

Hong Kong Talent Team World Ranking Positions last 12 months

Please note: OWGR as of Nov 2016 and Nov 2017 - Green arrow denotes progression, red arrow denotes regression Mimi Ho, who is in her last year of College Golf in the USA, excelled jumping from 550 to 341. Izzy Leung had some good results and improved her ranking from 607 to 572. Young talents Chloe Chan and Ginnie Ding both progressed solidly - Chloe from 1,455 to 1,124 and Ginnie from 1,428 to 1,248. Michelle Cheung’s ranking stayed almost the same, and the only player that regressed was Vivien Lee - but it’s important to say that Viviene played a very limited golf schedule due to school exams and has now secured a College Scholarship in USA starting next summer. And I’m sure 2018 will be a great year for Vivien. 24


It’s important to remember that these results do not just happen - for every player that goes down in the World Ranking another goes up - and every year the rankings are becoming increasingly extensive and more competitive due to the number of elite players in the world game. Golf Associations and Federations are investing large amounts of money into their programs due to golf’s newfound Olympic status, which in many countries has released massive amounts of government funding that were previously not available to golf. The commitment and dedication of the Hong Kong HKGOLFER.COM

Ben Wong Photo courtesy of USGA

Mimi Ho -Photo courtesy of Fresno State Women’s Golf Team Izzy Leung (Left) & Michelle Cheung - Daniel Wong

Players are extremely high, but at this level, it’s not just about working hard but more critical SMART - that means working on the right things, at the right time, in the right way. The information these players receive needs to be world class - after all, they are competing on the world stage against world ranked players. In 2017, Hong Kong Players received Biomechanics support from Golf Australia’s Ryan Lumsden, Psychology from Dr Brian Hemmings who worked with the England Golf Program for 17 years and mentored the likes of players such as Danny Willett, Ross Fisher and Chris Wood. We introduced regular 1:1 sessions with Jonathan Wallett together with online coaching for the players in the Talent Team. We’ve looked to make an effort a more focused with each player working to a specific vision with a personalised plan. There’s a long way to go, but the first roots have been established. In 2018, we would like to start the ‘Hong Kong Junior Talent Team’ so that we can build a young accelerator group behind these frontline players, who then get the same access to higher level of coaching expertise to optimise their opportunity of success. Then behind this frontline support is the fantastic support from the clubs – the Hong Kong Golf Club as ever is the stalwart of the HKGA Player Development Program offering its course and facilities free of charge on an ever-increasing basis, which included 22 Player Access Memberships. The Clearwater Bay Golf and Country Club offered 2 Player Scholarships in 2017, and that will be expanded to 4 in 2018. Then the support of the Player Development Program Advisory committee that consists of Peter Downie, Dean Nelson, Dominic Boulet, Grant Gibson and Paul Riley is invaluable as it allows us to utilise these industry professionals collective experience to develop a strategy that gives Hong Kong golf a competitive advantage. The admirable and unwavering support from the Player Captains Rob Keys and Joanne McKee who travel with the players to many of the international tournaments is critical. Then the J/I committee representatives who volunteer their time to help progress Hong Kong Junior golf. And at the centre, the HKGA Administration Office stewarded by the HKGA Exco committee. It’s a collective effort, and these are exciting times for Hong Kong golf pioneered by Tiffany’s achievements. But I believe there’s a lot more to come, and our challenge with the Player Development Program is to progress our systems to build a Player Funnel from the ground up, so we can allow as many Hong Kong youngsters to enjoy this wonderful game and a pathway to University Scholarships. And for the players who excel, to allow them the opportunity to showcase Hong Kong on the World Stage, because I believe we have future PGA Tour, LPGA and Asian Tour winners in our midst. Jonathan Wallett is Golf Development Director of the HKGA.





HK Pride – Tiffany Chan Qualifies for LPGA Tour 24-year-old Tiffany Chan has continued her dream journey on the professional tour by qualifying for the LPGA with an impressive second place finish at the third stage of the Q school, and becomes the first ever golfer from Hong Kong to reach the top level of the tour, writes Louie Chan.


han will look to begin her rookie season in the Bahamas at the end of January. The golfing community in Hong Kong and beyond, led by the Hong Kong Golf Association, are in unison with their praises and admiration for the Tuen Mun born and bred talent. After picking up a golf club for the first time at the age of six, Chan’s interest in golf quickly became a passion, and then a lifelong dream. She was first introduced to the Hong Kong Golf Association at the tender age of 7 in 2001. “It still feels like a dream to me that I will be on the LPGA Tour this year and compete against the best golfers in the world, many of whom I consider as my idols. It has been a long and challenging journey, so it is especially heartwarming to have these results to reflect all the hard work. First of all, I would like to express my gratitude to EFG Bank for their financial support, so I could pursue my golfing career in the States. When I look back at my junior and amateur careers, I am grateful for all those who have helped me, from the Hong Kong Golf Association, which has made it so much easier in every aspect of my life over the years, to the Hong Kong Golf Club that provides me with access to excellent venues and coaches. I must also express my sincere thanks to the Hong Kong government because through the Hong Kong Sports Institute, I was offered endless opportunities as a junior amateur to compete and practice against other elites in Hong Kong as well as those across Asia. Then there are the Hong Kong Golf Club, Discovery Bay Golf



Albert Chiu, CEO, Asia Pacific of the EFG Bank and Tiffany Chan pose for photos at the launch of the EFG Young Athletes Foundation new scholarship programme Club, the Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club, the Shek-O Country Club, and the Jockey Club of Kau Sai Chau Public Golf Course, that have allowed me to practise when and wherever I wanted. Golf has been an important part of my life since a young age. My parents are my biggest supporters but neither of them have a golfing background. I hope my journey can be an inspiration to young golfers, and other athletes, to follow their passion, and there are many people in Hong Kong who can help you realise your potential.”


Tiffany Chan, the first Hong Kong golfer to qualify for the LPGA Tour




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264th-time Lucky Ormsby Wins UBS Hong Kong Open



Australia's Wade Ormsby won his first European Tour title at the 264th attempt after a nerve-wracking finish to the UBS Hong Kong Open. The 37-yearold follows in the footsteps of fellow Aussie Sam Brazel as Rafa Cabrera Bello settles for second once again, writes Louie Chan.

Power Sport Images for UBS

Photography by Daniel Wong

After 13 years and 264 attempts, Wade Ormsby wins his first European Tour title HK GOLFERăƒťJAN 2018


O SSP Chawrasia, who led for the first three days, finished alongside Miguel Ángel Jiménez at tied seventh 32


rmsby carded a final round of 68 at Fanling to finish 11 under par, a shot ahead of Spain’s Rafa Cabrera Bello, Sweden’s Alexander Bjork and the American pair of Julian Suri and Paul Peterson. The tournament looked to be heading to a play-off when Ormsby three-putted the 18th to leave Cabrera Bello needing to par the same hole to force extra holes. However, Cabrera Bello then found the greenside bunker with his approach and failed to get up and down, leaving world-number-319 Ormsby to claim the second win of his professional career. “It’s been a great week again. I came from playing great last year, I finished second here. I felt that I give myself a really good chance coming in today again. I’ve been battling till the last hole. There’s not really much more that you can ask yourself as a player than to have a chance coming up the last. The coin just didn’t fall my side this time,” said Cabrera Bello. Ormsby played his first season on the European Tour in 2004 after coming through the Qualifying School and he has done that four times since in a career that has also seen him struggle with injury at times. A fifth-place finish at the Andalucia

Valderrama Masters hosted by the Sergio Garcia Foundation in last October ensured he eventually kept his card in comfortable fashion and he will now have an exemption until 2020 after winning at the 264th time of asking. “It was a bit of a weird feeling watching Rafa with a short par putt on 18 to make it a playoff. You don’t want to win like that but I’m sure a lot of guys have. I just missed one there, too. I don’t know, it’s not the way you want to do it, but at the same time you take them how you can get them,” Ormsby further added, “This feels amazing. I’m trying to hold it together here but I’m pretty stoked.  Well, not pretty stoked:  Very stoked. I played solid all day, hit a lot of greens but the putter wasn’t quite behaving. You saw that at the last which was disappointing to three-putt but you have to take them when they come so I won’t be complaining too much.” European number one Tommy Fleetwood finished alone in sixth after a closing 69 made up of 16 pars and a solitary birdie on the 17th, with four-time winner Miguel Ángel Jiménez a shot further back after a brilliant final-round 63. India’s SSP Chawrasia, who led for the first three days and began the final round with a one-shot lead in pursuit of a wire-to-wire victory, was three ahead after eight holes, HKGOLFER.COM

finished alongside Jimenez after a triple bogey on the ninth and four bogeys in five holes on the back nine. “I was playing well today. I start very good, and then made a triple bogey on nine and from then on, I kept dropping shots. But overall, I managed to make a comeback. I had a couple of putts missed, but that’s all right,” said Chawrasia. Justin Rose and Sergio Garcia, the two main drawcards of the tournament, finished tied at 10th and 19th respectively. After opening rounds of 72 and 70, Leon D’Souza became one of the very few Hong Kong amateur golfers to make the cut in the UBS Hong Kong Open in recent years. The homegrown amateur was five over par at one point in round two, but turned on the power over the back nine, with three birdies on 13th, 16th and 17th, narrowly made the cut. The 19-year-old played well all week and claimed the top placed amateur trophy. D’Souza, an Open debutant, also set the Hong Kong player’s lowest scoring (even-par 280) record, since the tournament has been co-sanctioned by European Tour and Asian Tour. The Hong Kong Close Amateur Champion then hit a superb five-under 65 featuring seven birdies in round three, putting him at three under and shooting him up the Fanling leaderboard. “There’s no place like home to be playing. It’s great I’m played my best golf in front of all my family and friends,” said D’Souza about flying the flag for Hong Kong. The local star got off to a shaky start in the final round, dropping four shots in the first four holes. But a brilliant birdie at the par-3 fifth hole helped D’Souza to settle down. He went on to make eleven consecutive pars, followed by a good birdie at the 17th. The 19-year-old was given a hero’s welcome by the local crowd on the 18th green. He carded a final-round three-over 73 to finish at tied 41st.  “We’ve enjoyed four days of first class golf here at the Hong Kong Golf Club. Congratulations to Wade on a well-deserved victory, and also to the Hong Kong amateur, Leon D’ Souza who has played well all week, not least his five-under par third round score. I am sure his performance will encourage more local young players to take up the game of golf. Last year, we welcomed over 46,000 spectators to the Hong Kong Golf Club, and I am sure this year we will break that record. We look forward to welcoming both players back to the Hong Kong Golf Club in 2018 for the 60th edition of the tournament”, said Arnold Wong, Captain of the Hong Kong Golf Club. HKGOLFER.COM

Rafa Cabrera Bello found the greenside bunker with his approach and failed to get up and down on the final hole, leaving Ormsby to claim the title

Local star Leon D’Souza played well all week and claimed the top placed amateur trophy. He was caddied by Ducky Tang (left), who’s also his coach in the HKGA squad HK GOLFER・JAN 2018



UBS Hong Kong Open in Pictures

Wade Ormsby prevailed from a dramatic final day in Fanling to claim his first European Tour title

With one of the strongest fields ever assembled, this year’s UBS Hong Kong Open promised excitement right from the start and the players delivered in spectacular fashion. The four days have, once again, confirmed the tournament’s status as Hong Kong’s oldest professional sporting event and also a world-class event in Asia’s world city. Photography by Daniel Wong




Matthew Cheung makes his UBS Hong Kong Open debut

Taichi Kho with caddie-father Victor Kho

Sergio Garcia

Justin Rose

Miguel Ángel Jiménez

Li Haotong




Cabrera Bello in the crowd

Rafa, can you sign for me?

Tommy Fleetwood

SSP Chawrasia

Fleetwood high fives with Freddie the mascot 36


Can you see that? HKGOLFER.COM

Defending champion Sam Brazel

Gotcha Thongchai!

Leon D’Souza

Biggest crowd in recent years?

Julian Suri (AFP/Getty Images)

The best spot?





Sergio Garcia

Masters Champion

Louie Chan talks to the Masters champion and Omega Ambassador just before the UBS Hong Kong Open kickstarted. What's your feeling on the course at Fanling after the practice round and Pro-Am? A very nice golf course, not long but difficult. The fairway is narrow, and the green is good, but very fast downhill. You have to be very accurate with your tee shot, and also when you go to the green. Even when you play well but not making the downhill putt, you are going to struggle. How much of your life has changed since winning the Masters? To be honest, it hasn’t changed that much. Obviously, there’s a little more attention on me after winning the Masters. Like the media wants to talk to me a bit more. But other than that, I’m still doing the same thing. I’m still practising the same way, hanging out with friends, playing soccer and tennis. That hasn’t changed a lot. You always remember the great things that have happened. I am very proud and honoured to be a Masters champion. But it doesn’t change me. I am not a better or bigger person than you because I won the Masters. It’s just what I do. Being able to do what you love is great. How would you define your 2017 season?  It’s an amazing season, both on and off the golf courses. Personally, it’s been great to get married to my wife and expecting our child. We won’t forget this year for a long long time. We are enjoying as much as we can. 40



What is the most memorable shot for your career so far? Obviously, t he one in t he 1999 PGA Championship, I always remember that shot. But I am fortunate to have many, like on the 15th at the Augusta National this year. I also have some nice shots in the Ryder Cup. And also, the shot on the 17th in the 2008 Players Championship that I won. Do you have a favourite playing partner in the Ryder Cup? The Captains always want to listen to your opinion. They would ask you to give your top three choices that you want to play. I got along with everyone, but I said these three guys would fit me the best as playing partner. This is pretty much the way we work at the Ryder Cup. Sometimes the Captain may want me to play with a rookie to make him feel more comfortable as a veteran.

Sergio Garcia has been Omega's brand ambassador for more than 15 years

Do you want to be a Europe Team Captain someday? It’s too early, and I don’t want to think about this. I hope I can still play for as much time as I can. When the time comes, I may think about it. At the moment, I just want to play. Do you a have a favoruite course in the world? Yes, the Valderrama Royal Club in Andalusia (Sergio just won another European Tour title there in November) and my home course in Spain, Club de Campo del Mediterráneo in Castellon. I also like links courses such as Carnoustie and Muirfield.

What is your favourite Omega model? I like the “Dark Side of the Moon”. I also like the Seamaster I am wearing – Planet HKGOLFER.COM

Garcia in action at the UBS Hong Kong Open Ocean Deep Black. I got this one from a friend in Omega at the week of the Masters. It was a good way to start the week and brought me the luck to win the Masters! I also remember the Michael Schumacher edition Speedmaster, which is also very cool. Watchmaker and Golfer – any similarities? Precision is very important for both of us. Fineness – you can see how beautiful the finishing a watch is. It’s the same thing in golf, fineness around the course and especially the green to save yourself from up and down. Or maybe you are in the trees, and you have to hit a spectacular shot. And I think hardworking is also another similarity. If you want to be a top global company against other competitors in the industry, you have to work hard. The same thing with golf – you need to put the hours to make yourself better. HK GOLFER・JAN 2018

Daniel Wong

Tell us about your relationship with Omega? We have been together for about 15 to 16 years now. Pretty much I can say that we have been together for my whole career. It’s been a great relationship with so many things we have gone through together. We have shot some really fun and cool videos. It’s been great to grow next to Omega and to be able to relate to a company with such high quality. Everyone knows the brand worldwide and the quality of their watches. As a golfer who loves to express as much as possible on the golf course, it’s a dream come true to be an Omega Ambassador.











PineCreek Golf Property Holdings Ltd does not provide Hong Kong properties


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Tiger Woods, reportedly pain-free for the first time in almost a decade, finishes tied for 9th on eight-under-par at the Hero World Challenge




2018 - It’s a

Dog's Life Whilst the PGA TOUR and the European Tour commence their seasons in October and December respectively and not necessarily in their native territory, the Asian Tour and the LPGA schedules follow the calendar year, both starting on home soil. But, as Mike Wilson writes, irrespective of who starts where, and when it will be interesting to see who barks and who bites during the Chinese Year of the Dog.


t’s never good to commence the year with an obituary, but when it comes to professional golf, where tournaments come and go, blending one into the other and in a seemingly perpetual state of churn. The apparent passing-away of an entire circuit is worthy of note, no, not as many might have predicted, a Ladies European Tour (LET) still - at the latest time of asking - in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). But, unlike OneAsia it would seem, still alive and kicking. Of course, such is the unpredictability of the political and commercial aspects of professional golf, that news of OneAsia’s demise might be, like the reported death of Mark Twain in 1897 - ‘Greatly exaggerated’. But, for an ill-conceived concept that managed no more than 10 events in a single season, in 2010, 2011 and 2012, reducing to seven in 2015, four in 2016 and three last term, it would not be unreasonable to surmise that, unlike Monty Python’s famous dead parrot, OneAsia is not simply sleeping. OneAsia had muscled-in on the 2009 Volvo China Open on the very eve of the event, the ‘Resident’ circuit. The Asian Tour having fallen foul of the game of musical chairs practiced back then by the China Golf Association (CGA). A brave new world of pan-Australasian golf beckoned, seemingly subscribed to by the Australasian, Japanese and Korean PGA Tours, plus the once-mighty CGA


with the European Tour dipping in and out when commercially expedient, the Asian Tour left highand-dry to plough its lonely furrow. Except for that OneAsia, a limited company relying 100% on its commercial acumen lacked two key ingredients. Firstly, that commercial acumen, secondly, the control over and support of the players, the typical Membership-based business model adopted by the PGA TOUR downwards seemingly the only show in town. Few will mourn the passing - if indeed it has breathed its last - of OneAsia, which begged, borrowed and even on occasions stole events from other circuits around the region, creating little that was new, almost taking the Asian Tour down with it, arguably setting the members-owned regional circuit back as much as a decade. The OneAsia website remains online. Its last news item dated 4th June 2017, reporting Chang Yikeun winning the Kolon Korea Open, its previous apparent vestiges of tournament golf. And, if indeed the last rights have been read to an organisation that never engaged with the media, proved unable to capture the imagination of the financial backers its very future relied upon and, crucially, failed to improve a lot of Asia’s increasingly frustrated players. Meanwhile, if OneAsia is indeed in the throes of rigour mortis, then the Ladies European Tour, which



AFP/Paul Lakatos/OneAsia

Zhang XinJun of China tees off during the second round of the 2015 Thailand Open golf championship



is believed to have defied death by less than 24 hours last year, remains on life support. It made for uncomfortable listening at the 2017 Ricoh Women’s British Open to hear 2019 Solheim Cup captain Catriona Matthew break ranks and tell it as it concerned the financial health of her ‘Home’ circuit. ‘Obviously, I don't really play much in Europe, but you know, they have obviously been having their issues with the Commissioner,” said the normally mild-mannered Scotswoman, adding, “I think we need to try and get that sorted and see what direction they are going to go in there.” 36 hours later, the said Commissioner Ivan Khodabakhsh was emptying his desk back at Tour HQ in leafy Buckinghamshire, north of London. His interim successor, LET Chairman Mark Lichtenhein, former European Tour Head of TV, Digital & IT found the LET coffers as empty as his predecessor’s desk. Official accounts filed with the UK regulator Companies House revealed how LET had lost £610,000 on a turnover of just £12.2m in 2015, almost double the deficit incurred the previous year on £10.9m turnover. Its reserves ravaged by plugging the holes here, there and everywhere it seemed.

And, with 2016 accounts already threemonths overdue and the resignation of the Tour’s auditors, LET could only muster 15 tournaments in 2017, of which just five were in Europe, and two of those LPGA ‘Majors’. Financial support from the golf, ‘Family’ enabled LET to limp towards a season-ending not-so-grand finale in Dubai. But, with only eight players earning over US$100,000 last term, headed by England’s Georgia Hall, the only player earning over US$200,000 from the beleaguered circuit with over 40% of her 2017 winnings (US$437,000) coming from a single event, a tie for third place in the Ricoh British Open. It’s difficult to argue with Catriona Matthew’s blunt analysis of players’ prospects away from the LPGA Tour. “If you were an emerging player playing in Europe, you just about need to have a parttime job, I’d say, to keep you going,” was Ms Matthew’s judgment, hardly a resounding vote of confidence as she prepares to lead Europe into Solheim Cup action in Scotland next year. Rumours, some less outlandish than others as to a financial lifeboat to keep LET afloat, having included an infusion of working capital from the R&A, an underwriting agreement with the LPGA. There are even suggestions of



Meanwhile, softly-softly, as is its wont, the R&A has been and will continue to support the Ladies European Tour - to have the circuit fail within shouting distance of St. Andrews and embracing much of the R&A’s worldwide footprint would be a step too far. Especially since the Ladies Golf Union (LGU) was recently brought under the R&A umbrella, participation in women’s golf one of the few growth areas presently in the royal and ancient game. Halfway through a 2018 season preview, yet not a single blow struck from the first tee. With an apparent resurgence from the Renaissance Man, Tiger Woods, a Ryder Cup to look forward to in Paris, the so-called, ‘City of Love,’ and an Asian Tour heading into a new year with unprecedented and just-about-justified confidence, there is much to look forward to inside the ropes as out of them. Following his highly-creditable - and credible - return to tournament golf at the Hero World Challenge he hosts on behalf of his charitable foundation, Tiger Woods, reportedly pain-free for the first time in almost a decade undoubtedly hushed - if not entirely silenced - his many critics, with a T9 finish on eight-under-par. Only a clumsy, careless three-over-par 75 third round taking the shine off what was, albeit in an end-

2019 Solheim Cup captain Catriona Matthew breaks ranks and voices out her concern towards the financial health of European Ladies Tour


AFP/Getty Images

a take-over by the European Tour have been for three-to-four years and it will take more, much more than a short-term change of CEO to guide the underperforming circuit through to the end of this year. Let alone fielding a team to attempt to claim back the Solheim Cup at Gleneagles in 2019. Quite why an admittedly eccentric CEO such as Keith Pelley at the European Tour might seek to lumber himself and the company he leads with a beleaguered ladies circuit when he has two - the European Seniors and Challenge Tours – of his own is unclear. And, one suspects that if such a proposal were ever to reach his Players Committee, it would receive short shrift from European Tour players recently described by one insider as, “Restive.” Much more credible are suggestions that the LPGA could, in effect, swallow-up its smaller European cousin, even though in what is already an authentically global tour with 16 of its 33 events in 2017 staged outside the USA. The LPGA already had all-but-unfettered access to the three jewels in the LET crown, the Evian Championship and the Ricoh Women’s British Open - both ‘Majors,’ and the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open, co-sanctioned by the Ladies European Tour and the LPGA.


AFP/Getty Images

Masters champion Sergio García has an epic playoff victory over England’s Justin Rose at Augusta National in 2017



of-term 18-man field quasi-competitive event, the first signs of light at the end of his long, dark, personal and professional tunnel. As the saying goes, ‘You can only beat what’s put in front of you.’ Woods finished behind Europe, Asia and some might say, America’s finest - Rickie Fowler’s course record final round 61 put victory out of reach, Race to Dubai winner Tommy Fleetwood, 2017 Open Championship winner Jordan Spieth and Asian number-one Hideki Matsuyama, alongside reigning Olympic champion Justin Rose amongst the few ahead of their host, world number 1 and 2, Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas behind a seemingly-resurgent Woods. But, as the old adage goes, ‘One swallow doesn’t make a summer.” Those of us who witnessed Woods hobbling out of a Dubai bunker almost a year ago, and the millions more who saw those alarming DUI ‘mugshots’ from last May must hope, if only as a fellow human being as opposed to a golf fan, that Tiger has turned the corner, taken charge of and responsibility for himself and his actions and can mount the kind of comeback he and his medical team, Jay Monaghan and his PGA TOUR executive group and a global golfing press searching desperately for a compelling

narrative could, just a few months ago, only dream of. Woods is back in the world’s Top-1,000 and rising, and, with a sensible schedule built around the ‘Majors,’ and the WGC events, eschewing the millions of dollars dangled in front of him to appear here, there and everywhere. Providing he remains physically and emotionally fit and well, having just turned 42, he could conceivably win a 15th ‘Major,’ and/ or a 19th WGC title, 10 and five years respectively on from his last. Meanwhile, if Tiger’s progress will inevitably be the theme running through world golf in general and the PGA TOUR in particular, the battle between golf’s top brass for the big titles always makes for compelling viewing, whether on course, on TV and, increasingly-so, online. Having got the ‘Major’ monkey off his back at the 74th time of asking, with an epic playoff victory over England’s Justin Rose at Augusta national, Masters champion Sergio García will reveal the depth of his ambition and hunger, starting with a quest for a second, back-to-back Green Jacket since Tiger Woods successfully defended his crown in 2002. Whilst Justin Rose, who took some criticism for the, ‘Old pal’s act,’ he performed with his friend and Ryder Cup teammate on the final day at Augusta will



say, most challenging - of links on the roster; Carnoustie, or, ‘Carnasty’ as many of its victims like to call it is. At the best of times, a truly authentic and tough test of golf, but when the wind blows - as it often does in Carnoustie Country - it is arguably the ultimate challenge the ‘Majors,’ has to offer. Few will forget the 13th hole on the final day of last year’s Open Championship at Royal Birkdale - no soft touch, especially as the wind picked-up. Jordan Spieth taking 20 minutes to place his penalty drop on the driving range, but, as many a player will testify, Carnoustie would not be nearly so forgiving. Justin Thomas finally came good when winning the USPGA Championship at an entirely re-modelled Quail Hollow. And such is the consistency of the man who has cemented his place in golf’s ‘Holy Trinity,’ the top-three of the OWGR, few would discount his potential for a successful defence at Bellerive CC, St. Louis, Missouri and what would be the first back-to-back Wanamaker Trophy wins since Tiger Woods in 2006 and 2007. Perhaps the most understated and underrated performance on the PGA TOUR last year was Korean Si Hoo Kim’s victory in the Players Championship, the so-called, ‘Fifth Major’.

Justin Thomas finally came good when winning the USPGA Championship and cemented his place in the top-three of the world ranking


PGA of America

be looking to turn the tables a clinch a Green Jacket of his own. Meanwhile, the 2018 U.S. Open, which heads north to Shinnecock Hills GC in New York State. Brooks Koepka the first of three allAmerican ‘Major’ title defences in succession, but it will be a fourth Stars and Stripes player who may well be attracting the most significant attention that week. One Eldrick Tont ‘Tiger’ Woods enjoys automatic eligibility following his legendary victory - to all intents and purposes on one leg - 10-years-ago, edging-out Rocco Mediate over an 18-hole Monday playoff. Tiger’s final U.S. Open exemption, unless he can weave his magic and defy the odds in what will be his 20th appearance in his ‘Home,’ Open Championship. Three wins may feel - to Woods and his army of foot-soldiers - like a poor return, considering he was runner-up twice and only out of the top-20 once between and 1997 and 2010. And one can only speculate as to the brouhaha there would be the 42-year-old to be in contention come late afternoon Eastern Time on Sunday 17th June this year. The British Open - or what the R&A like to call, ‘The Open Championship,’ will be staged at its most northerly - and many would


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Mike Whan and the LPGA suffered its worst year in a decade - a series of high-profile rules fiascos and misjudgments at the Majors



Whilst such is the predictability of the WGC events that it would be a turn-up-for-the-book were Dustin Johnson not to add to his full set of WGC titles, having on in both Mexico and the Match Play last term. Meanwhile, the European Tour has never fully recovered from blue-chip brands such as Volvo, Barclays, Ballantines and BMW either entirely - or partially - withdrawing from the circuit, the 2018 International Schedule looking decidedly threadbare compared to the halcyon era. Whilst saluting Keith Pelley’s thirst for innovation and creativity, the inaugural Golf Sixes last term was a qualified success and does not have a venue so far. this year, whilst the Belgian Knockout and the Shot Clock Masters carry a sense of novelty and a lack of authenticity about them. Furthermore, the European Tour has failed to persuade any of its existing sponsors – or indeed new partners - to buy into the recently elevated exclusivity of the Rolex Series, presuming that both Omega-sponsored events in Dubai and Switzerland would be off-limits. Whilst events such as the Philippines Golf Championship, the NBO Oman Golf Classic and the Czech Masters are puffed-up Challenge Tour events,

makeweights at best. Indeed, 20 of the European Tour’s 51 events announced to date fail to pass the US$2m prize money threshold. One of those, the much-publicised European Championships at Gleneagles which will see men and women play in the same tournament for the first time takes place slap-bang in the middle of the WGC Bridgestone and USPGA Championship, meaning that the men’s side will be deprived of its top talent. Of the leading professional tours going into 2018 with a spring in their step, it is the Asian Tour, for so long the bridesmaid and often jilted at the later when promising to be the bride that has that feel-good-factor about it. With almost US$8m on offer between the EurAsia Cup and the Maybank Championship in the first two months of the year, and the CIMB Classic confirmed again for October 2018, Malaysia is enjoying a prominent position on the world stage. Especially, at long last with a player, 2017 Order of Merit winner Galvin Green to match the country’s events portfolio, its investment and its undoubted ambition. If CEO Josh Burack can leverage the Asian Tour’s new-found status, back at the heart of golf in China, with a springtime and autumnal



been published, giving rise to fears that all may not be well at the top of the women’s game. However, if season 2018 played mostly in the Year of the Dog may, on the surface be resembling something of a canine’s dinner, there is always the hair of the dog. The Ryder Cup, to be staged near Paris for the first time, the biennial hostilities between the best of Europe and the finest the USA can assemble is an event whose bite is invariably stronger than its bark. Two cranky old-stagers, Dane Thomas Bjørn and American Jim Furyk leading their 12 good men and true into battle, following the USA’s 17-11 humiliation of Darren Clarke’s Team Europe. Bjørn, whose trial run as captain is at the EurAsia Cup in KL this month will be eager - indeed desperate - to extending Europe’s record to seven straight home wins and that is one not to be missed. Whether it is a case of cabin fever, a symptom perhaps arising out of being force-fed too much golf that is good for the soul - and the game is unclear. But, just when one thinks about the end of the line, up pops a Ryder Cup, backedup by the four ‘Majors,’ and a strong men’s and women’s schedule in Asia and life, it seems may not be that bad after all, like teaching an old dog to do new tricks.

Dane Thomas Bjørn is leading his 12 good men and true into battle, following the USA’s 1711 humiliation of Darren Clarke’s Team Europe


AFP/Getty Images

event in the PRC in the US$1-2m bracket, then a vital step towards fulfilling its undoubted potential will have been taken. Under the stewardship of Commissioner Mike Whan, the LPGA had plotted its way around the golfing world with great care, avoiding the pitfalls of many who had preceded what is, in all-but-name, a global ladies professional circuit, until last year. But, as if a fox had found its way into the LPGA corral around the Year of the Rooster, Whan and his female phenomenon suffered its worst year in a decade - a series of highprofile rules fiascos, misjudgments at the ANA Inspiration and the Evian Championship cost high profile players Lexi Thompson and Korean Ryu So-yeon respectively not only a ‘Major’ title but also a shed-load of cash cost the LPGA even more, its credibility and its hard-earned reputation. Four events lost. The Alisports LPGA China cancelled less than a month before teeoff, as well as ex-LPGA star Lorena Ochoa’s eponymous event in her native Mexico, the Manulife in Canada and the MCKAYSON New Zealand Women’s Open. Whan insists there will be three new events in 2018, yet, at the time of going to press, no LPGA 2018 schedule has


World's Golf Course Designer of the Year

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Player is


Right When Gary Player speaks, it is often best to pay attention and absorb his infinite words of wisdom. As Chung Choo Chiang writes, Player is the biggest supporter for the bright future of male Chinese golfers.


he South African golf legend, who has won staggering 165 tournaments in six continents over a span of six decades, regularly imparts his honestto-goodness views on the ever-expanding landscape of professional golf. After decades of trailblazing success, the octogenarian, who turned 82 in November and reportedly still does 1,300 sit-ups a day, is an authority of the game and he made a few folks sit up and take notice during a recent Rolex event at an LPGA tournament. Player made a bold prediction that male Chinese golfers would one day take over and dominate the world golfing order despite the current state of affairs where five American stars - Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler and Brooks Koepka -



occupy positions in the world’s top-10 ranking. His views may not quite be “breaking news” material, but Player certainly sees things differently from mere golfing mortals. “They’ve got this enhanced desire to do well,” he said about Chinese golfers, which Global Golf Post reported in late November. Player, one of only five men to complete a career Grand Slam, revealed he wasn’t optimistic when then 14-year-old Chinese amateur Guan Tianlang earned his place at the Masters Tournament in 2013 after winning the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship. He even called Augusta National Golf Club to voice his disagreement, only for fear that Guan would be so out of his depth and be put off from the game. As it turned out, the youngster proved doubters including Player wrong by making





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Gary Player asserts that male Chinese golfers would one day take over and dominate the world golfing order

Zhuang Liu/PGA TOUR China

17-year-old Lin Yuxin became the third Chinese amateur to win the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship, following in the footsteps of Guan (2012) and Jin Cheng (2015)



the weekend cut and emerging as low amateur. Player conceded he “couldn’t have been more wrong about the child.” Throw in Li Haotong’s mesmerising thirdplace finish at The Open Championship in Royal Birkdale last July, following a glorious final-round 63; Player is convinced the Chinese brigade will soon burst through the gates. With Dou Zecheng, who at 20 is two years younger than Li, and Zhang Xinjun earning PGA TOUR cards after taking a journey which began at the PGA TOUR China, the signs are becoming evident that Player could be spot on with his prediction. His views coincided with another Chinese teenager, 17-year-old Lin Yuxin, earning the dream trip to the Masters Tournament this coming spring after he prevailed in the AsianPacific Amateur Championship in Wellington in late October. Lin later explained he was amongst those inspired by countryman Li’s Open exploits. “It’s definitely a motivation for me, and it’s definitely a motivation for every

Chinese player,” said the left-hander, who also earned a starting place at the 2018 Open Championship.           This pointed back to Player’s assertion that the Chinese have the “enhanced desire” to succeed. Interestingly, Lin has come onto the scene after enjoying numerous opportunities to grind his teeth on the PGA TOUR China, the very same platform which has propelled Dou and Zhang into the world’s premier golf circuit. Over the past three years, Lin played on the PGA TOUR China, making 11 cuts from 13 starts and finishing as low amateur in seven events throughout 2016 without missing a weekend cut. With the PGA TOUR announcing that it will partner with the China Golf Association (CGA) to stage a full PGA TOUR China schedule in 2018, commissioner Jay Monahan emphasised the importance. “This is significant, really significant, for Chinese golf, because Zecheng and Xinjun are the first two players from China to hold PGA TOUR membership,” Monahan said. “They followed the path from PGA TOUR China to the Tour, to the PGA TOUR, and they are ideal examples of what you can do when you have immense talent, you dream big and, you play on PGA TOUR China.” The timing of the PGA TOUR China announcement could not have been any better as days later; Lin became the third Chinese amateur to win the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship, following in the footsteps of Guan (2012) and Jin Cheng (2015). Monahan believes a strong PGA TOUR China will pave the way for more Chinese talents to break through. “If we can unlock the largest country and the largest market in the world and we can inspire future generations, and hopefully young people are watching these two stars (Dou and Zhang) and other stars as we go forward, we think that's a wonderful thing for the best game on the planet,” he said. “We want to develop more elite Chinese players through PGA TOUR China, and I think you'll see us continue to collaborate on the specifics behind inspiring future generations and developing the game.” With the some of the game’s biggest backers like HSBC collaborating with CGA through its junior programme where players such as Li, now ranked 59th in the world, and Lin have benefited from, Player’s prediction could well become true. Chuah Choo Chiang is the Senior Director, Communications of PGA Tour and based in TPC Kuala Lumpur


PGA TOUR China partners with

Shankai Sports Shankai, which has worked with the IOC, FIFA and UEFA, will partner with the PGA TOUR in operating the PGA TOUR China’s new-look from 2018 onwards, boosted by investment from IDG Capital and Yao Capital.



Foreground left to right: Greg Gilligan, Vice President and Greater China Managing Director, PGA TOUR; Hong Li, Co-founder and Chairwoman, Shankai Sports money. Most importantly, the series still offers the top players membership on the Tour, which remains the path to the PGA TOUR, a path taken by Zecheng Dou and Xinjun Zhang.” Shankai also announced that it was embarking on its new venture boosted by an RMB300 million investment from private equity firms Yao Capital – whose founders include NBA Hall of Famer Yao Ming and investment veteran David Han – and IDG Capital, a leading investment institution which was an early investor in many world-renowned Chinese internet and technology companies. Qualifying schools for PGA TOUR Series-China will start from late January, with the series starting in March.


Image courtesy of Evian Championship

hankai Sports has signed an agreement to partner with the PGA TOUR and manage the o p e r a t i o n s o f P G A T OU R China’s new series for a 20-year period from 2018, both parties announced on Thursday. The PGA TOUR China Series was held from 2014 through 2016 and will resume with qualifying schools next month after a year’s hiatus. Beijing-based Shankai will manage the dayto-day operations of the series in partnership with the PGA TOUR. The PGA TOUR SeriesChina will continue to reward the top five on its Order of Merit with memberships of the Web. com Tour, the path to the PGA TOUR, and with additional benefits for the next 15 players. A fter 12 events in its f irst t wo years and 13 in 2016, PGA TOUR China’s 2018 series will feature 14 events with purses of R MB1.5 million, 25% higher than in the first three years. Greg Gilligan, PGA TOUR Vice President and Greater China Managing Director, said: “PGA TOUR China is truly thrilled to be partnering with Shankai Sports on the PGA TOUR Series-China. Shankai is a worldclass organization with great experience of connecting the expectations of international sports bodies with an understanding of the Chinese market. “With Shankai as our new partner, PGA TOUR China is proud to say that the series is back - bigger and better. It will have more tournaments and significantly more prize



The of



As Craig Morrison writes, many major championships are won by the player who performs least poorly in the final round, or so it sometimes seems. With so much at stake it’s hard to find that silent space where you can play your best.


n the course, at our best, we are inside ourselves, our very best selves. Things, within the limitations of our abilities and know-how, go smoothly and we play almost as well as we can. For some this lasts just a couple of shots, a hole or a run of holes. Sometimes the spell because that’s what it is, a kind of magic - lasts for half the round, an outward or inward half. It’s why we often collect our thoughts on the 10th tee and give ourselves a stern talking to, knowing that a new nine is a chance to begin again, to work some sorcery, to find our inner calm. For the best players, as we know, this alchemy can last for a full round, even for a 72-hole tournament, though such things are rare. Typically, a topflight golfer will have to endure at least one tournament round where they fall a little from grace, finding themselves back on earth scraping a couple of birdies and fighting for pars to hold their lead. Most golfers never get close to such glories. But many of us are familiar with the feeling where we are woken from the reverie, typically towards the end of a game as we realise we’re looking at a score of some significance. That’s often the thing that shatters the dream. It’s why so many professionals refuse to look at scoreboards and, instead, play it one shot at a time, never looking up or out. Why can’t we stay in that place, maintaining that internal happiness and concentration, enjoying a purity of purpose? It’s because of hopes and ambitions, reality dawning. We get distracted by details and desire.



But not all golfers who put in the hours and attain excellence can attain tour status. A fair few regular golfers wield their sticks seemingly as well as some guys on tour but, when it comes down to it, they can’t shoot really low, can’t keep it together for long enough to make a living from the game. On the range, working quietly, you might mistake them for world beaters. Yet something is missing from their skill set. Maybe it’s the short game, probably the putting. But often it’s the ability to silence the world and to get in the zone. And that’s where the world’s best spends a lot of their time: ‘in the zone’. The great golfer will overcome all unsettling and nerve-wrangling difficulties and arrive in that delightfully tranquil domain of the mind. And all’s well there, at least while the putts drop and the drives soar. Then though, a little rain falls on their parade - a small but costly misadventure in a bunker, a bad break, a gust of wind, a noise from the crowd - and they are unceremoniously returned to earth, where, as PG Wodehouse might have it, shots are lost because of ‘the uproar of butterflies in adjoining meadows’. If flow is to be maintained such small aberrations must be ignored or overcome. Some golf coaches say that when their guy comes off the green they don’t want to know, from the player’s body language, if they’re walking away with a birdie or a bogey. That’s a good ploy. It means that even if shots have been dropped you force yourself back into a positive position. You play a trick on yourself and act like it’s all ok. I’ve heard that other coaches tell their charges to simply walk tall between shots. Perhaps it’s


about power-posing, a sense of authority and self-deception: all useful stuff. But perhaps too it’s about finding something other than the minutiae of the game to concern yourself with: easier to think about keeping one’s shoulders back and head up straight than about complex swing formula. The in-depth stuff should be left for non-tournament play. When the chips are down you must simply go with the basics and trust yourself. When hopes are too high or fears too pressing it is impossible to find this higher state. Many major championships are won by the player who performs least poorly in the final round, or so it sometimes seems. With so much at stake it’s hard to find that silent space where you can play your best. Nicklaus could do it often, 18 times to be precise. He could handle the pressure and said, without arrogance, that in some ways, for him, the majors were the easiest to win because everyone else found them so hard. His game was complete, but more than that his mind would comply with his mighty will to win. No doubt even Jack felt nerves creep up on him. But his concentration took him beyond the reaches of such stuff. Nowhere in his books and interviews do we find any mention of the deadly hush of the tee and the watching crowds. For him it was perhaps perfect peace. For others it can be a terrifying atmosphere, a fog of fear so thick with worries that it seems impossible to draw the club back through it. The Ryder Cup, where golfers suddenly find themselves playing not for personal glory but for their friends and countrymen and more fans than they ever knew they had, seems to be one such frightening place. Many have testified that the first tee in the first game is an unnerving environment in which to make a smooth swing, a place where grown men can suddenly shrink. In response to this a new technique has emerged which seems to stop the hands trembling. First adopted by Europe’s Ian Poulter and America’s Bubba Watson, but no longer confined to these exuberant showmen, the spectators will roar through a golfer’s entire swing. The crowds enjoy it and the golfers respond to it, adding yards and forgetting fear. It’s easier, it turns out, to play through that cacophony than the deafening silence they normally endure. Oh well, the old-timers say. It’s The Ryder Cup and these things come to pass. The barbarians will cross the Danube and The Rhine. Rome will fall. The Crowns will be united. The Enlightenment Period will end. A state of unconscious fearlessness is desirable. Whereas its inverse, the state of conscious fear, is no place to be with a golf club to hand. It’s the place where even the smallest, simplest shots HKGOLFER.COM

Craig Morrison is the author of 18 Greatest Scottish Golf Holes and 18 Greatest Irish Golf Holes. He is a freelance golf writer, a contributor to many international titles, including HK Golfer. An Anglo-Scot, he lives in Somerset, England. Discover the meaning of golf by downloading a copy at: com/Meaning-Golf-Craig-Morrisonebook/dp/B074C2LBRH

especially the smallest, simplest shots - become almost impossible. The fine motor skills switch off and the easiest of things becomes a slog. We can all walk across a floor and up some stairs, but when there’s a global audience of millions watching us collect our statuette, then it becomes a trickier proposition. Golfers talk about the yips. Or rather, they don’t talk about the yips lest they prove to be contagious. Many a great golfer, especially in middle age, with many thousands of short putts already safely negotiated, has fallen victim to this disease. Perhaps it’s caused by overuse, a short-circuit in the system when performing a task, we believe we know very well. There’s nothing good about the yips. Maybe the mystery at the heart of them is interesting. Possibly the name itself, to the non-golfer, has a happy sound, a sort of Scottish cadence, the term apparently having been coined by Tommy Armour from Edinburgh, an early 20th Century winner of the US and UK national open competitions as well as The PGA Championship. Whatever it is, there’s no cure. There are restoratives: fat handles, long shafts and altered grips. But less than, say, the shank, the yips are not a swing fault. They’re a brain fault, a disruption of the ideal condition where, suddenly, the smooth putting stroke is inflicted with an unstoppable twitch. They exist in many sports where to think too much about a process is to ruin its fluidity. In baseball, the name synonymous with the disease is that of Steve Blatts, the great Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher who suddenly could not do the most natural thing he had ever known and release the ball at the right moment in his throw. It ended his career. Cricketers have been similarly aggrieved; marksmen can develop an equally ruinous twitch; and dartitis is the name given to the affliction when its sufferer can no longer accurately direct his arrows at the triple 20 or bullseye. In even worse news for golfers, it’s now become widely apparent that yips are not confined to the greens. Tiger Woods introduced us to the sort of golf nobody was familiar with, the greatest, most remarkable shots anyone had ever seen, colossal distances combined with deadly accuracy, and a putter which was always true. Then he went and popularised the driver yips, the two-sided miss we see more and more (something I blame on oversize clubs and longer shafts). And as if that wasn’t enough, Tiger only went and brought to our attention the short game yips, the bladed chips and the fat chunked shots which he put on show to unsuspecting audiences during a few failed comebacks. The yips: a strange scourge on the happy sportsman. Dismiss them. Find your flow. Forget you read this. Never try. Or at least, try not to try. Attempting to be funny often doesn’t work. Pursuing happiness is no way to find it. Trying to hit it a mile means mistiming your swing. Seek results indirectly. Put effort into practise and put effortlessness into your game. But don’t try to remember all that when you step onto the tee… HK GOLFER・JAN 2018



Don’t Get Hung Up on Your Unorthodox Swing The Kilted Caddie took a lesson at the St Andrews Golf Academy and being told not getting too hung up on his unorthodox backswing…



AFP/Getty Images

If Jim Furyk had got analytical and hung up about his backswing like all other golfers, he would be probably in a lunatic asylum



Madelene Sagstrom of Team Europe gets instuction from her coach on the range during practice for the Solheim Cup


said I’d never do it again but the ca la m itous state of a f fa irs on a Saturday with my drives off the first tee of the Old Course in the Autumn Prizes Competition have coerced me into book a final golf

AFP/Getty Images

lesson. I feel obliged to attempt one last stab at salvation and atone for the battering and bruising of buildings, cars and unsuspecting tourists up the Links that afternoon. Yes, I have been forced to this ultimatum. These two seismic duck hook shots, which careered out of bounds up Granny Clark’s Wynd (which takes some doing!), intimate t hat a l l is not wel l wit h my technique. In fact, these shots, although spectacular and impressive in their own right, were down right da ngerou s. A nd not ju st to Granny Clark’s Wynd. They were the canard of all hooks.



So, it was with a heavy heart, an open mind and the knowledge that I’ve been here many times before that I booked a lesson at the St Andrews Golf Academy. And on Tuesday at 2pm I was greeted by a lovely, fresh faced young chap called Scott Herald. Fortunately, he did not know my long history and the many neutered attempts to reprieve my shocking golf swing. Indeed, he was unaware of the number of teaching professionals, the many fine and gallous men who have fallen into despair, left the country incognito, given up to drink, and taken up rifle shooting. In fact, one has even given up the ghost altogether. However, I’m in a new town, a whole new place and different phase of my life. I have bought my annual Links ticket, joined the historic St Andrews Golf Club and am having a last gasp at youth and stardom. Well I’m 55 and an eternal optimist. HKGOLFER.COM

Bryson Dechambeau is known for getting very analytical about his golf swing on the PGA TOUR

AFP/Getty Images

Now, I w i l l not bore you about t he i nt ricacies of my lesson, nor be overly dramatic about this, but I will actually go as far to say that I’m now a new man. Well at least on the golf course that is. Other things, at 55, are of course well shot. The basic premise of my revelatory hour with Scott is that he accepted my slightly steep and unorthodox backswing on the basis that I was delivering the club very well on the downswing. What? I’ve spent forty years getting hung up on something that is not that important? In fact, it’s the only half of the golf swing that I’ve ever really thought about! Shouldn’t be getting too hung up about what is happening on my backswing? Not to hung up! I’ve been agonizing over it for four decades. I was nicknamed ‘Loopy Loo’ throughout my most impressionable and formative years. It affected my life, my family, my psychological well being, its made me whimsical, excessively thin skinned and shoved me a few notches up the autistic spectrum. Ask my golf shrink. However, on ref lection Scott is right. That ’s simply not the important bit. He then went on to point out the poignant example of Jim.Furyk. Scott said that if Fu r yk had got a na ly t ica l a nd hu ng up about his backswing, then the poor chap would be in a lunatic asylum or some very expensive Californian rehab joint. In fact, that Dechambeau character would probably be going down the same path. The Fosbury flops of backswing technique? Never. But it doesn’t really matter. It t urns out t hat my problems come through the ball at impact and not clearing my body away so that I can maintain the club face on target. Ergo the severe hooks! S c o t t t h e n t a l ke d m e t h r o u g h a n d illustrated the swing dynamic with the aid of the new Trackman video technology. That’s some piece of kit. I was bowled over by this actually and surprised to see that I have a fairly high swing speed. In fact, higher than Matt Kuchar at 110mph. And all I can say to that is ‘coo’. However, on the downside Scott pointed out that I had a pretty bad smash factor. 1.4 I think. But I a l ready k new my smash factor wasn’t in good shape and have come to terms with it. As have Cynthia at number 17, The Links and that rather grumpy guy with the nice Ferrari. Please write to if you have any comments. HKGOLFER.COM




AP Golf Trophy 2017 Audemars Piguet hosted its Hong Kong Golf Trophy 2017 at the Clearwater Bay Golf Club on November 27 Photography by Daniel Wong

Left to right: Miguel Ángel Jiménez, David von Gunten, CEO Greater China of Audemars Piguet and Paul Dunne Over 60 passionate golfers came together for an unforgettable event attended by two of the brand’s golf ambassadors and members of the Audemars Piguet Golf Dream Team - fourtime Hong Kong Open winner Miguel Ángel Jiménez and 2017 British Masters winner, Paul Dunne. The daylong event opened with a welcome speech by David von Gunten, CEO Greater China of Audemars Piguet, in which he highlighted the many common values between the worlds of golf and watchmaking, such as commitment and passion. A special programme was created for the day and included an exclusive clinic session where the ambassadors gave golf tips and insights, including Jiménez’s famous stretching moves. Dunne, who took home the British Masters trophy with an amazing chip on the 18th hole,



demonstrated his short game mastery to the crowd as well. Audemars Piguet’s golf ambassadors kick-started the event by hitting the opening drives with von Gunten together. Following the opening ceremony, the two golf masters joined the guests on the course for the special ‘Beat the Pro’ challenges on the Par-3s. Every guest enjoyed an exclusive opportunity to play a hole with each ambassador in the “Nearest to the Pin” competition. The day culminated with an award ceremony where von Gunten and the ambassadors handed out prizes to an enthusiastic crowd. Through dedication and hard work, golfers constantly achieve the highest results and perfectly embody Audemars Piguet’s philosophy “To break the rules, you must first master them.”


Jiménez leading the crowd to follow his famous stretching warm-up routine

Jiménez describes his 12-year relationship with Audemars Piguet as full of friendship and royalty

The ambassadors kick-start the event by hitting the opening drives with von Gunten (left) together

Paul Dunne, 2017 British Masters winner

Dunne displays his exquisite sand game

Every guest enjoyed an exclusive opportunity to play a hole with Jiménez




A supremely elegant and classically styled mansion of natural Bath stone construction on this internationally renowned private estate. Westbourn, Wentworth, Surrey, UK • Guide Price £23,000,000

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A LOOK BACK AT 2017! ©2018 Dr Milton Wayne




1. See 20A

1. See 10A

2. See 22D

3. (& 4D) Race To Dubai winner

8. See 13D

4. See 3D

10. (& 1D) 2017 host of the Open Championship

5. See 16D

11. (& 24A) Home of the Masters

6. Ryder Cup host city 2018

12. See 19A

7. See 15A

14. US Open host “Hills” (pictured)

9. (& 16A) Lost the Masters in a playoff

15. (& 7D) 2018 Ryder Cup captain: USA

13. (& 8A) Took his maiden major in US Open

16. See 9D

16. (& 18D, 5D) UBS HK Open runner up, again!

19. (& 12A) Our new UBS Hong Kong Open winner!

17. (& 25A) Popular Masters winner

20. (& 1A) 2018 Ryder Cup captain: Europe

20. (& 26D) Hong Kong’s first LPGA player

24. See 11A

21. See 28A

25. See 17D

22. (& 2A) Open champ in a cliffhanger

27. See 23D

23. (& 27A) Won FedEx Cup and USPGA

28. (& 21D) World #1, but no majors this year

26. See 20D


18. See 16D


WIN "THE GOLFERS" PRINT To enter, complete the crossword and send a scan or photo of the completed grid to, with “January Crossword” as the subject. Remember to include your name, address and contact number. Entries close on 15 February 2018. ONE LUCKY WINNER WILL BE DRAWN FROM THE CORRECT ENTRIES.

A luxury print, measuring 38” x 26”, has been produced and is available exclusively in Asia through the HK Golfer. Each print is accompanied by a printed key identifying each of the characters, and makes the perfect gift for any golfer. Yo u m ay a ls o v isi t H KG o l f e r Sh o p. co m, w r i te to or call us on 3590 4153 if you wish to purchase a print for only HK$888 (inc. free delivery).


Congratulations to Chi Fung Chan of Cheung Sha Wan who won the November crossword.

Hill & Adamson, “The Golfers” HKGOLFER.COM




The Plantation Course at Kapalua Golf Club

Yoshihiro Nishi The HKGA President talks to Louie Chan about his best ever round and favourite courses.

Profile: Daniel Wong; Course: AFP/Getty Images

When did you start playing - and where? I started playing golf in 1974 when I was 8 years old in Hiroshima, Japan. Those were the time when golf was booming in Japa n. My fat her happened to be a very keen and enthusiastic golfer and started to take my brothers and my sister to a local driving range on weekends. Going to driving range with my father was so much fun and I fell in love with the game immediately. I still remember the day he cut the shaft of his Honma 7 iron and made it into my first golf club. From age 12 to 16, I went to a boarding school in G eneva, Swit z erla nd a nd I played ten n is a nd ot her sports more than golf. Golf came back to my life again when I joined Doshisha University golf team in Kyoto, Japan in 1985. A lt hough I was not good enough to make high ranking finishes, I really enjoyed playing in the team and the competition. I kept on playing golf after university and it became big part of my life today. T he ga me cha nger i n my gol f l ife ca me i n 2011, I wa s i nv ited to joi n t he I nter nat iona l C om m it tee of Japan Golf A ssociation. I mmed iately after, I was encouraged to take the R& A Level 3 exam for referee and tournament administrator so that I can get more involved inside the rope. The R& A hosted this exam in Asia for the f irst time at the Sentosa Golf Club in Singapore. It was not easy at all and I barely passed the exam, it got me more involved and led me to take a part of many international golf events. 74


How often do you play? I am a member of Discovery Bay Golf Club and I try to play 4 to 5 times a month. What’s been your best ever round? I shot 69 (33-36) at Winsor Park Country Club in Japan in 2003 at a Pro Am event. The god of golf helped me to shoot under 70 for one day. When I scored 33 in the front nine holes, I started feeling nervous and scared entering into back nine. I kept telling myself to stay calm and focus on each shot. On the 10th hole I made a chip-in Par, and just carried my game on till the end of 18th hole with par play. I have been waiting for another day to meet the god of golf to do something similar again, but he may be too busy with others. Do you have a favourite course? My favorite golf course in the world is the Plantation Course at Kapalua Golf Club in Maui, Hawaii. The view of the Pacific Ocean from the last two finishing holes, are breathtaking and spectacular! I am always excited to watch the Tournament of Championships on TV in early January and I am thinking of going there to play there again next year! Another favorite golf course is of course my home course, Discovery Bay Golf Club in Hong Kong. Who would be in your dream fourball? B o b b y J o n e s , T i g e r Wo o d s , A r n o l d Pa l m e r a n d Hideki Matsuyama. HKGOLFER.COM