Trailblazer Feng is China’s first world number one golfer

Feng Shanshan, who started the week third in the world, is projected to rise to top spot at the expense of South Korean rookie Park Sung-Hyun, the LPGA said. (AP)
Updated 11 November 2017
0

Trailblazer Feng is China’s first world number one golfer

SHANGHAI: Feng Shanshan is to be China’s first golfer ranked world number one after she claimed back-to-back wins with a thrilling victory at the Blue Bay LPGA on Saturday.
No Chinese golfer, male or female, has ever topped the rankings before and her slice of history underlines the country’s growing heft in a sport that was banned under Mao Zedong.
Feng, who started the week third in the world, is projected to rise to top spot at the expense of South Korean rookie Park Sung-Hyun, the LPGA said.
Twenty-eight-year-old Feng’s ascent to the summit comes thanks to a nervy one-shot victory over Moriya Jutanugarn after the Thai’s birdie try on the 72nd hole lipped out, to the delight of the home crowd on the southern Chinese island of Hainan.
Feng’s fellow Chinese players showered the trailblazer in water on the 18th green at Jian Lake Blue Bay Golf Club.
She told LPGA.com: “I’m really, really excited and very proud of myself and I think it’s special because I won this tournament to become world number one.
“I finished first in China, so I actually claimed the world number one in front of all the people at home,” said Feng, who is from the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou and turned professional in 2007.
Feng, who also captured last week’s TOTO Japan Classic title, added: “Hopefully there will be more Chinese getting on the tours and more world number ones coming up from China.
“I just want 2017 to keep going. A never-ending 2017, that would be great.”
The deposed number one Park was tied third and relinquishes the top spot after just one week.
For Feng, the Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medalist, it is the culmination of more than a decade of toil on tour.
It is also a third victory of the season for her and ninth career LPGA win, one of those a major.
As well as being China’s first number one, she was also the country’s first winner on the LPGA Tour (2012 Wegman’s LPGA Championship).
Her rise to the top was widely celebrated in Chinese media, but the Beijing government has an ambivalent attitude toward golf, which is traditionally viewed in China as bourgeois.
On the one hand Chinese authorities have shut dozens of golf courses — many of them illegal — and curbed new construction, while at the same time holding men’s and women’s tournaments like the one that Feng won.
The LPGA Tour heads back to the US next week for the CME Group Tour Championship in Florida, the final event of the 2017 season.


‘Being able to play football is not enough’ — Chiellini urges players to study

Updated 17 October 2018
0

‘Being able to play football is not enough’ — Chiellini urges players to study

  • Giorgio Chiellini: Studying helped me relieve some of the pressure in the world of football, and kept my brain sharp
  • Chiellini: As a footballer, you need to start thinking about life after football at the beginning of your career, not at the end

MILAN: Italy and Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini urged players to think more about their careers after football on Wednesday as he helped launch an education campaign led by global players’ union FIFPro.
Chiellini, 34, studied for a degree in economics and a Masters in business administration at Turin University at the same time as winning seven straight Serie A titles with Juventus from 2012.
“Studying helped me relieve some of the pressure in the world of football, and kept my brain sharp,” said the Juventus captain.
But only 13 percent of footballers have a higher education compared to 53 percent of men in Europe, says FIFPro.
“As a footballer, at 20 years old you feel indestructible and able to do anything in football,” said Chiellini.
“But at 35 your career is more or less finished. You then have the rest of your life in front of you, and just being able to play football is not enough.
“Only a few players manage to find a job in football. There’s also the risk of depression, and there are many former players with financial problems because they have not thought about what they are going to do, they have not opened their minds by studying.”
The towering defender from Pisa started his career at Tuscany club Livorno before joining Roma, with a season spent on loan at Fiorentina before signing for Juventus in 2005.
“As a footballer, you need to start thinking about life after football at the beginning of your career, not at the end,” added Chiellini who has also played 99 times for Italy.
“If you are not sharp in matches you can’t make the quick decisions that you need to reach the top level in football.”
As part of the ‘Mind the Gap’ campaign, player development managers (PDMs) will be appointed at several national player associations to help footballers prepare for life after retirement.
“The statistics show each year professional footballers are not as prepared as other workers to enter the employment market outside football,” FIFPro secretary general Theo van Seggelen said.
“With this campaign, we are encouraging players and player associations to work together to correct this.”