China’s Golf "Firsts"
Golf in China is making it's move: read below to see China's golf history and timeline.
1984 - First modern golf course: Chung Shan Hot Spring, opens in Zhongshan, Guangdong province
1985 - May 24th. First governing body: the China Golf Association is established
1986 - January. First “international” tournament: Chung Shan hosts the Chung Shan Cup, featuring foreign players but not recognised by any outside sanctioning bodies the Pro-Am event is hailed in China the first international tournament.
1990 - September/October. First big event: The Asian Games golf tournament is held at Beijing Golf Club, Shunyi District. The Asian Games itself was the first large-scale international sports event to be held in the People’s Republic of China.
1994 - October. First medals: At the Asian Games in Hiroshima Zhang Lianwei wins an individual silver medal behind Kaname Yokoo, while China’s women’s team claims bronze.
1994 - April. First professionals: Zheng Wengen and John Xiao Chenghan are among a handful of golfers to become the first Chinese professionals when they pass a newly-introduced CGA exam.
1995 - First domestic tour: The Volvo China Tour, China’s first domestic circuit, consisted of four 36-hole tournaments.
1995 - April. First official international pro tournament: The Volvo China Open in Beijing (Beijing International Golf Club) is won by Raul Fretes of Paraguay. Total prize money was US$400,000.
1997 - April. First Chinese player to win an international tournament: Cheng Jun is victorious at the Volvo China Open in Beijing.
2001 - November. First visit by a world number one: Tiger Woods makes his first trip to China, an exhibition at Mission Hills near Shenzhen in Guangdon
2003 - January. First Chinese win in a European Tour event: Zhang Lianwei wins the co-sanctioned Caltex Masters in Singapore.
2004 - First Chinese player in a Major championship: Zhang Lianwei receives an invitation to the Masters.
2004 - May. First Chinese golf world record: Mission Hills entered into Guinness Book of Records as the world’s largest golf club after its expansion to 180 holes.
2005 - November. First time to host Asia’s leading tournament: With US$5m prize money, the HSBC Champions, then Asia’s richest tournament, debuts in Shanghai. The inaugural tournament is won by English Ryder Cup star David Howell.
2007 - First fully-integrated junior development scheme: The HSBC China Junior Golf Program and HSBC National Junior Championships are launched.
2007 - First Chinese to win Asian Tour’s Order of Merit: Liang Wenchong clinches the title with nine top-ten finishes including a win at the Singapore Masters.
2007 - First Chinese to join American college circuit: Han Ren enrolls on a golf scholarship at Indiana University
2008 - July. First weekend play in a Major: Liang Wenchong makes the cut at the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale.
2008 - November. First impact on the Official World Rankings: Sergio Garcia moves up to number two after winning the HSBC Champions. It’s the first time an Asian event has had such a profound effect on the global standings.
2009 - April. First Women’s Tour: The China Golf Association announces the birth of the China LPGA Tour. The circuit will have strong links with the Orient Golf chain, playing the majority of the events on their courses.
2009 - Asia’s first WGC event: WGC status is awarded to the HSBC Champions in April, making it indisputably Asia’s single-most important tournament. The event in November features Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson playing in the same tournament for the first time in Asia. Paired together in the leading group on the final day, Mickelson triumphs.
2010 - First Impact On World Number One: Four players - Lee Westwood, Tiger Woods, Martin Kaymer and Phil Mickelson – arrived in Shanghai for the 2010 WGC-HSBC Champions, knowing a good week would make the number one in the world. No Asian tournament had ever impacted the very top of the Official World Golf Ranking.
20??: China’s first world number one:??
Courtesy of Tim Maitland