Golfing great Sir Nick Faldo believes strength in numbers will be the best way for China’s rising stars to succeed in the cut-throat professional men’s game.
Speaking at the nation’s most famous golf club, Mission Hills, the six-time Major winner said young Chinese players needed to emerge as a group to spur each other to greater heights.
While China has four players in the top 200 of the women’s world rankings, including world No.4 and Major winner Feng Shanshan, it currently has no one in the men’s top 200 – but Faldo can spot the remedy.
“They need to come and attack the big tours in numbers because, at the moment, it’s a little thin,” he said. “China needs to have at least half a dozen really good young golfers working their way up, winning in China, then winning in Asia and Europe to get to the PGA Tour.
“That’s all going to take time. And at the same time, the rest of the world is moving on as well. There’s a lot of competition out there. You see how Japan has struggled to hit the American tour in numbers, it’s almost like they come one at a time. So that has to be the Chinese players’ goal if they want to set the world on fire, they need to inspire each other.”
Asked how soon the golf world could expect to see a Chinese man in the world’s top 10, Faldo responded: “I would say it will arrive within the next 10 years or so, but you can’t see it happening immediately. They have to climb the ladder and it’s a tough ladder right now because international golfers are very strong.”
Faldo, Britain’s most successful golfer, was visiting Mission Hills Shenzhen-Dongguan to oversee the Faldo Series Asia Grand Final on the course he designed at the resort 18 years ago.
Recognised as the only global amateur series for boys and girls, the Faldo Series was established in 1996, expanding to Asia in 2006. Currently, it comprises 40 tournaments in more than 30 countries.
Faldo was full of praise for Mission Hills’ commitment to junior golf and the prominent role the club has played in his series. “This is the ninth Faldo Series Asia Grand Final we have held here, so it’s great. Mission Hills has been a big part of the series, the kids love it, the facilities are great and they get a chance to play my course for three days, so it’s all good.
“We’ve all got to do our bit for junior golf, that’s where your future members come from. Mission Hills has obviously been striving hard across China to give kids the opportunity to play and it’s good thinking on the club’s part when they have so many golf courses to fill in the future.”
Mission Hills Group Vice Chairman Mr Tenniel Chu accompanied Faldo at the post-tournament prize-giving and hailed the living legend’s presence at Mission Hills as a huge boost for junior golf in China and the region.
“We are always honoured to host this prestigious tournament and to have Sir Nick with us again,” said Mr Chu. “With Sir Nick as their role model and inspiration, the players competing at Mission Hills this week are in good hands as they seek success in the game.”
Mission Hills www.missionhillschina.com
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