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Green Shoots: Meet China's new generation of talented golfers

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Profiles of four of China's best young golfers, from the September 2009 issue of Silkroad, the in-flight magazine of Dragonair. By Dan Washburn (http://danwashburn.com)

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Green Shoots: Meet China's new generation of talented golfers

  1. 1. GOLF 高球天地 Green ShootS TEXT/文 DAN WASHBURN 嶄露頭角 Meet China’s new generation of talented golfers 為你介紹中國新一代的高球精英 G 有 olf. Some claim the Chinese invented 人爭論,高爾夫球其實是中國人發明的 the sport. No one who has ever glanced at 運動。不過,觀乎高爾夫球手的世界排 the world golf rankings, however, would 名榜,中國選手的技術尚未臻至爐火純 argue they perfected it. But to be realistic, 青的氣候,卻是不爭的事實。而實際上, the game of golf in the People’s Republic 這種運動在中國內地發展的時日,甚至 of China is younger than Tiger Woods. The country’s 比Tiger Woods還要年輕。中國首個高球場直至1984年才 first golf course didn’t open until 1984, China didn’t 開幕;而在1994年以前,中國並沒有所謂的「職業高爾夫球 acknowledge “golf pro” as a legitimate occupation until 手」。至今,中國打高球的人口依然佔少數,由此可見,高爾 1994 and, even today, a small percentage of the Chinese 夫球在內地仍然有很大的發展空間。 population plays the sport. There is, it’s safe to say, room 很多人認為,中國的高球手很快就會在一流高球賽事中 for growth. 寫下光輝的一頁,而中國的新生代年輕球手將一馬當先,以 Many say Chinese golfers are already on the verge of 實力證明高球運動於中國已經漸入佳境,日趨成熟。 making a lasting mark at the highest levels of the game. 世界知名的高球教練David Leadbetter 說:「我深信中 Leading this charge is a new generation of young players, 國是高球壇的一股新勢力,中國的高球巨星快將誕生。」 eager to prove China’s golf scene is coming of age. 傳統上,大部分的中國職業高球手都是自學成材的窮家 “I do believe really that China is the new wave for 子弟,開始接觸高球時年紀亦已經不小,首位在歐洲巡迴 golf,” says world-renowned golf coach David Leadbetter. 賽中勝出的球手張連偉便是一例。然而,中國高球界的明 “I think it’s only a matter of time before some real stars 日之星與前輩球手有著截然不同的際遇,許多人從小便已 are produced.” 開始接觸並練習高球,最重要的是,他們都負擔得起頂尖 Traditionally, most Chinese professionals – including 高球教練所收取的昂貴學費。 trailblazer Zhang Lianwei, the first Mainland golfer to win 以下為你介紹中國高球界的四位頂尖年輕高球好手。 a European Tour event – were self-taught, came from poor backgrounds and came to the game late in life. The future Chinese stars represent a dramatic paradigm shift. They are the first generation who, from a young Wu Ashun slowly learned age, grew up aware of golf, playing the sport and, most to love the sport importantly, able to afford top-level golf instruction. 中國高球手吳阿順學會 Here are four of the top young golfers in China. 慢慢愛上高球運動 44 Silkroad SEPTEMBER 2009
  2. 2. English name: Alex WU ASHUN Born: June 22, 1985 twenty-three-year-old Wu ashun just might Birthplace: Zhangzhou, Fujian be the best chinese professional golfer under Hometown: Zhangzhou, the age of 30 – and prior to 2001, he had never Fujian even heard of golf. Current residence: Shanghai Home course: Tomson Golf The son of a truck driver and a municipal worker, Wu Club, Shanghai was a normal 16-year-old growing up in a small village Height: 1 m 83 cms near the agricultural city of Zhangzhou, in eastern Weight: 81 kilograms Fujian Province. Then, a golf academy opened in the Swing: Right handed city and a representative visited Wu’s school looking Year started golf: 2001 for potential talent. Wu didn’t know what golf was, but Year turned pro: 2008 his interest was piqued. 英文名 Alex : “I was very active back then, playing basketball and other sports, so when they told us about the chance 出生日期: 1985年6月22日 出生地點:福建漳州 to get a free education and learn golf, I was curious. So 故鄉:福建漳州 I went to take the test,” explains Wu, who after a series 現居地:上海 of physical challenges was one of a dozen students 所屬球會: 上海湯臣高爾夫 chosen from more than 100 candidates. 球場 Wu said his parents “were always supportive” of his 身高 1米83 : decision to play golf, even if the sport confused them. 體重 81公斤 : Wu admits he found golf a little dull at first, but the 揮桿:右手 game grew on him. “I didn’t like golf at first. I thought it was boring. But I never thought about quitting. I started 開始打高球的年份:2001年 to get interested slowly.” 成為職業球手年份:2008年 By the time he was 18, he was consistently shoot- ing scores in the 70s and he placed second in his first tournament, a youth event in Guangzhou. “He’s going to be a very nice player,” observed Irish golf professional Paul McGinley earlier this year. “He’s a very good talent and it’s great to see the Chinese players coming through.” 吳阿順 現年 23歲的吳阿順,堪稱是 30 歲以下的中國職業 高球精英之一,但在2001年之前,他甚至沒聽說過 高爾夫球這項運動。 吳阿順兒時在福建東部漳州的農村長大,父母是貨車司機 和工人。他16歲那年,漳州開了一家高球訓練中心,中心派 人到他的學校尋找有天份的學生。吳阿順當時雖然不知道 高爾夫球為何物,但這個活動卻激發了他的好奇心。 吳阿順說:「當時的我很好動,喜歡打籃球及各種運動。 因此當有人說這是個學打高爾夫球及免費受教育的好機會 時,我非常好奇,便去參加測試。」經過體能測試後,他從 百多名應考者中脫穎而出,成為12名獲選學員之一。 吳阿順的父母雖然對高球不甚了解,但他們都支持他的 決定。剛開始練球時他覺得高球有些沉悶,過了一段時間才 喜歡上這項運動。他說:「剛開始時我並不喜歡高爾夫球, 但也從未想過要放棄,後來對這項運動逐漸產生興趣。」 在他18 歲時,吳阿順已打出平均70 多桿的成績,並在首 次參加比賽時於廣州舉行的青少年高球賽事拿下第二名。 愛爾蘭籍的職業高球手Paul McGinley在看過吳阿順的 表現後,曾在今年年初表示:「他很有天份,將會成為出色 的球手。中國球手嶄露頭角是教人欣喜的現象。」 SEPTEMBER 2009 Silkroad 45
  3. 3. GOLF 高球天地 “The best way for young golfers to develop is to find their own way of improving ... to push themselves and discover a way on their own” 「年輕的高球手必須自己去摸索改善球技的方法,這樣才能 進步……球手們需要推動自己,尋找改善的方法」 HU MU 胡牧 ask 19-year-old hu mu who is the best chinese 問19歲的胡牧,在他這一代中國高球手中,誰的表 golfer from his generation and he doesn’t 現最出色?這位中國頂尖業餘高球手會毫不猶豫地 hesitate with his answer. “me,” says china’s 回答:「我,毫無疑問。」 top-ranked amateur. “never a doubt.” Hu has a right to be confident. He’s been considered the 也難怪他如此自信。從2001 年開始,只打了三年高爾夫球 future of Chinese golf – “China’s Tiger Woods”, “Golf’s 的胡牧,已被視為中國高球壇的明日之星,被冠以「中國 Yao Ming”, “Mister One in a Billion”, etc. – since 2001, Tiger Woods」 「高球界姚明」 「13 億人之中才出一個 、 、 just three years after he started playing. That’s when 」等封號。當時年僅 11歲的胡牧,在中國青少年高爾夫球公 an 11-year-old Hu won the China Junior Golf Open – in 開賽 15至 18歲的年齡組別中奪冠。同年他從深圳移居佛羅 the 15-18-year-old division. Later that year he moved 里達州,接受全球知名高球教練Leadbetter的培訓。胡牧 from Shenzhen to Florida, where he began training 的家境富裕,其父胡建松在經濟起飛的90年 under Leadbetter, perhaps the most famous golf coach 代在深圳售賣奧的斯電梯致富。 in the world. Money was not an issue – Hu’s father, Leadbetter 憶述:「胡牧很有天份, Hu Jiansong, made a fortune selling Otis elevators in 而 且 非 常 努力,小 時 候 在 擊 球 方 面 已 Shenzhen during the boom years of the 1990s. 表 現得 十 分 優 秀,我 們 對他 的 “He was a very good ball striker even at a young 前 途 寄 予 厚 望。他 讓 我 想 起 age,” recalls Leadbetter. “He’s a great talent. Rory McIlroy,他們是屬於 Hu Mu’s father He’s a hard, hard worker. We have high hopes 同一種類型的人。此外,他 Hu Jiansong was for him in the future, no question about it. 也是一位非常積極進取的 his caddy for the He sort of reminds me a little bit of Rory 高球手。」 Omega China Tour last year McIlroy, that type of individual. He’s a very 胡牧認為:「年輕的高 胡牧的父親胡建松在 aggressive player.” 球手必須自己去摸索改善 Hu says: “The best way for young golfers to 球技的方法,這樣才能進 Photos. Hu Mu: David Paul Morris – World Sport Group. Previous page: Wu Ashun: Jeff Hargrove 去年的歐米茄中國巡迴賽 中擔任兒子的桿弟 develop is to find their own way of improving. 步,千萬別過 於依 賴教 練 Don’t over rely on coaches and parents. They 和父母。球手們需要推動自 need to push themselves and discover a way 己,尋找改善的方法。」 on their own to get better.” 胡牧在佛羅里達大學的社 Hu recently completed his freshman 會與行為科學系就讀,第一 year studying Social and Behavioral 個 學 年 剛 剛 結 束,他 亦 是 Sciences at the University of 大學高球校隊 Gators 的成 Florida, where he plays golf 員。即使如此,胡牧說他很 for the college team, the 高興自己選擇了大學教育, Gators. But he says he’s 沒有轉為職業球手。 happy he decided to put 他說:「在佛州,我學會 off turning pro for college. 了在高爾夫球場上甚至在日 “At Florida, I learned to calm 常生活中讓自己平靜下來, myself down, not just on the golf 這 樣 有助 我 更 清 楚自己打 course but in everyday life,” he says. 高爾夫球的真正 原因。我是 “Also it reminded me why I play golf. I 因為真心喜歡這種運動而打球, play because I love the sport, not because 並不是 為了要 成 為 職 業球手 來 I need to make a career out of it.” 揚名立萬。」 46 Silkroad SEPTEMBER 2009
  4. 4. Born: October 8, 1989 Birthplace: Jiande, Zhejiang Hometown: Shenzhen Current residence: Orlando, Florida Home course: Bella Collina Golf Club Height: 1 m 78 cms Hu is a hard worker Weight: 77 kilograms and described as an aggressive player Swing: Right handed Year started golf: 1997 胡牧非常努力,教練形容 他是個積極進取的球手 College: University of Florida (Class of 2012) 出生日期:1989年10月8日 出生地點:浙江建德 故鄉:深圳 現居地:佛州奧蘭多 所屬球會:Bella Collina Golf Club 身高 1米78 : 體重 77公斤 : 揮桿:右手 開始打高球的年份: 1997年 就讀院校 佛羅里達大學 : (將於2012年畢業) SEPTEMBER 2009 Silkroad 47
  5. 5. GOLF 高球天地 FENG SHANSHAN the world’s highest-ranked chinese golfer is 20 years old and female. feng Shanshan, now in her second year as the first chinese regular on the lPGa (ladies Professional Golf association) tour, is one of the game’s top 50 players. “Every time I see the Chinese flag flapping about in the sky at an LPGA tournament site, I feel very excited and The first Chinese proud,” says Feng, who remains the lone Chinese golfer regular on the on tour. “What Chinese players lack are not skills, but LPGA Tour, Feng opportunities. I think Chinese golfers should grasp more Shanshan is a natural talent opportunities to attend more international tourna- 馮珊珊是首個獲女子 ments, which will broaden their outlook. They must be 職業高爾夫球總會巡 confident in themselves because they are really good. 迴賽全卡參賽資格的 I believe the day you see more Chinese players on the 中國球手,也是天生 LPGA Tour will come soon.” 的高球好手 Feng was not born into money, but she may have been born to golf – her father, Feng Xiong, is General Secretary of the Guangzhou Golf Association. Feng Shanshan began playing at the age of 10 under her father’s watchful eye. After winning the China Amateur Tournament three years in a row, she moved to the United States in 2007, enrolling at the prestigious Hank Haney International Junior Golf Academy on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Less than a year later she was one of only two amateurs and the first woman from China to earn exempt status for the 2008 LPGA season. English name: Jenny “If she continues to work hard and believe in herself, Born: August 5, 1989 she could be one of the top 20 players on the tour,” says Birthplace: Guangzhou Matt Fields, who coached Feng at the academy. Hometown: Guangzhou Current residence: Howey-in the-Hills, Florida 馮珊珊 Home course: Dragon Lake 正值雙十年華的馮珊珊,是現今世界排名最高的中 國高球女選手,更是首個獲女子職業高爾夫球總會 Photos. Feng Shanshan: Gregory Shamus – Getty Images. Sun Dong: David Paul Morris – World Sport Group Golf Club, Guangzhou Height: 1 m 70 cms 巡迴賽全卡參賽資格的中國球手,她已是第二年參 Weight: 60 kilograms 加這項賽事,並且在巡迴賽排名前50名。 Swing: Right handed Year started golf: 1999 作為巡迴賽上唯一的中國高爾夫球手,馮珊珊表示:「當我 Year turned pro: 2007 每一次看到中國國旗在 LPGA賽場上飄揚的時候,我感到 既興奮又自豪。中國的高球手欠缺的不是技術,而是機會。 英文名 Jenny : 我認為中國高球手應該把握更多參加國際賽事的機會,開 出生日期:1989年8月5日 拓自己的視野。他們的實力已毋庸置疑,對自己應該更有 出生地點: 廣州 信心。我相信,會有更多的中國高球手在LPGA巡迴賽上登 故鄉: 廣州 場,這一天應該很快就會到來。」 現居地:美國佛州 出身於高球世家的馮珊珊,家境不算富裕,父親馮雄是 Howey-in-the-Hills 廣州市高爾夫球協會秘書長。她在父親的悉心指導下,十 所屬球會:廣州九龍湖 歲開始打高爾夫球,並在連續三年贏得中國業餘高爾夫球 高爾夫球會 巡迴賽總冠軍後,於2007年移居美國南卡羅來納州Hilton 身高 1米7 : Head Island,入讀首屈一指的高球學校 Hank Haney 體重 60公斤 : International Junior Golf Academy(IJGA)。之後不到 揮桿:右手 一年,她便成為2008 LPGA球季賽兩名獲外卡參賽資格的 開始打高球的年份:1999年 業餘球手之一,亦是首名獲此資格的中國女球手。 成為職業球手年份:2007年 馮珊珊於IJGA的高球教練Matt Fields說:「只要她繼續 努力,保持信心,就有機會打進巡迴賽的前20名。」 48 Silkroad SEPTEMBER 2009
  6. 6. SU DONG English name: James Su dong may only be 19 years old, but he’s Born: December 22, 1989 a big guy with big potential. after toying Birthplace: Beijing with the idea of attending duke University Hometown: Beijing in the United States and playing golf there, Current residence: he turned professional in January. Vancouver, Canada Home course: Reignwood In February, in his first tournament as a professional, the Pine Valley, Beijing big-hitting Su Dong placed second and won a cheque Height: 1 m 83 cms for RMB21,000 (about HK$23,800) at Harbour Plaza Golf Weight: 100 kilograms Club in Dongguan. The top-three finish also earned Su a Swing: Right handed spot in this year’s Volvo China Open, arguably the most Year started golf: 2001 prestigious tournament for Mainland golfers. Year turned pro: 2009 Of course, the organisers of the Volvo China Open 英文名 James : have long been aware of Su’s prodiginous talents. In 出生日期: 1989年 2005, when he was just 15 years old, Su wowed onlookers 12月22日 with a fifth-place finish in a qualifying tournament. He 出生地點: 北京 went on to play in the Volvo China Open as a second 故鄉: 北京 alternate, prompting tournament executive director 現居地:加拿大 Alistair Polson to compare Su to Spanish superstar Sergio 溫哥華 Garcia. “I think he’s got the mental toughness to go a 所屬球會: 北京 long way,” Polson said of Su at the time. 華彬莊園高爾夫 Su, who grew up in Beijing but has lived in Vancouver, 俱樂部 Canada, since 2003, excelled at sports as a child, but at 身高 1米83 : the age of 11 his father encouraged him to give golf a try. 體重 100公斤 : Few Chinese were playing at an elite level in those days, 揮桿:右手 so Su’s father thought golf was the sport that gave his 開始打高球的年份: son a chance to become one of the nation’s best. He 2001年 was right. “I played golf for three months and I finished 成為職業球手年份: third in the China Junior Golf Championships,” Su says, 2009年 “but there were only eight people competing.” 蘇東 蘇東雖然只有19歲,但身形絕對不小,而且潛力雄 厚。他曾經考慮入讀美國的杜克大學並繼續打高爾 夫球。不過,今年1月,他決定轉為職業球手。 今年2月,他在東莞海逸高爾夫球會參加了人生的首場職業 球賽,並奪得亞軍,贏得一張21,000人民幣(約23,800 港 元)的支票。在這場賽事中奪得前三名的佳績,也為他贏 Su Dong is 得今年Volvo中國公開賽的參賽資格。對中國的高球手來 a mentally 說,這項賽事堪稱最為聲譽卓著的高球錦標賽。 tough golfer 其實,Volvo 中國公開賽的主辦機構早已注意到蘇東的 蘇東是位意志力堅強 超卓球技。2005年, 15歲的他在資格賽中獲得第五名,令 才 的高球手 人刮目相看,最後更以資格賽第二名進入當年的Volvo 中 國公開賽。公開賽行政總裁 Alistair Polson把蘇東與西班 牙高球明星Sergio Garcia 相提並論,他認為: 「我相信他 有很堅強的意志力,足以應付未來的挑戰。」 蘇東在北京長大, 2003 年移居加拿大溫哥華,自小就 擅長各項運動,11歲時在父親的鼓勵下開始打高爾夫球。 當年中國出色的高球手並不多,蘇東的父親覺得兒子有 機會成為中國最優秀的高球手之一,事實證明他的直覺沒 錯。蘇東輕聲笑著說:「我才打了三個月的高球,就拿下 全國青少年高爾夫球錦標賽第三名,雖然比賽只有八人 參加。」 SEPTEMBER 2009 Silkroad 49

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