China Ladies Open serves as showcase for Asia’s best
The Hyundai China Ladies Open, a flagship tournament co-sponsored by the China LPGA Tour and the LPGA of Korea Tour, takes place from Friday to Sunday in Qingyuan, Guangdong province.
Even though the event has been dominated by South Koreans since its launch in 2006, it has played a significant role in helping grow the sport in China.
Li Hong, CEO of China LPGA Tour Ltd, recently sat down with China Daily to discuss the tournament’s impact on raising the international profile of Chinese golf.
Why is this tournament a milestone event in the history of female golf in China?
Prior to the China Ladies Open, the country had no professional events for female golfers. We were very lucky that we had the South Korean side to co-sponsor the event. Both the event organizers and Chinese players have learned a lot from the Koreans. Most importantly, through the past decade of cooperation, we have seen what we must do to promote the sport. We need to take concrete measures to help develop as a powerhouse of golf.
What measures has the China LPGA taken to promote the sport?
The China LPGA Tour is one of the important ways. The tour provides a major platform for Chinese female players. A rising number of homegrown female golfers have made great progress in global competitions during the past few years. Feng Shanshan won the bronze medal at the Rio Olympics and more Chinese female golfers have been present in the US LPGA. But there is still a long way for China to go in order to become a powerhouse of golf.
Can China end South Korea’s dominance of the tournament any time soon?
We hope Chinese players will make that happen as soon as possible. It is of great significance for Chinese golfers to claim titles on their home courses. We have a great chance, given that some Chinese female golfers have already shown their strength and ability to win any tournaments. Feng Shanshan claimed four titles around the world this year, including two on the US LPGA Tour. She has already proved her strength in winning trophies.
We clearly understand the South Koreans have been very strong in this event. Their dominance over the past decade has already proved their leading position in female golf. But given time, China has an excellent chance to break our jinx in the near future.
How do you see the future of the China Ladies Open and the China LPGA Tour?
We are definitely facing some challenges. From the very beginning of the China Ladies Open, we were determined to develop into a historical event — and it was the same for the China LPGA Tour. We are confident of overcoming the difficulties and making breakthroughs.
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Li Hong, CEO of China LPGA Tour Ltd