Sport

Skirting the issue

Controversial move to raise popularity of ladies golf

If Li Na’s example of sporting success looks set to boost the fortunes of ladies tennis in China, a somewhat different strategy is being employed for women’s golf.

As the Associated Press reports, a “sex drive” is underway to heighten awareness of the female game, and the China Daily notes that photos of Chinese players in bikinis were released at the recent Chinese LPGA Beijing Renji Challenge.

“I think it’s a good thing for the sport as extra attention will be paid to the CLPGA,” said Wang Liwei, vice-president of the Chinese Golf Association, during a press conference for the CLPGA Orient Pearl Challenge on Wednesday.

“Women’s golf lags far behind men’s in terms of marketing and competitiveness. So big efforts have to be made to help promote it around the world. Even the US LPGA is making moves to make women’s golf more charming and eye-catching.”

Wang is also advocating that the ladies wear “skirts and shirts of bright colours” to increase the game’s appeal. At the Orient Pearl Challenge – the fourth event of the season – a “Most Beautiful” player award will be on offer (fans and media will vote on golfing attire).

As Wang sees it, ladies golf has a lot more to offer than straight-hitting off the tee and proof of a good short game. Instead it’s also about “fresh air, beautiful scenes and young and dynamic girls,” he assured the media.

In fact, golf officials are not the only ones pursuing a leggy strategy. In badminton too a new rule was promulgated to require female players to wear skirts, in a move also designed to increase viewership of the game.

The measure was due to take effect on June 1. But after protests from players, the sport’s global body met last weekend in Qingdao and delayed implementing the skirt rule, announcing instead that the move required “further study”.


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