This week the LPGA settles in Taiwan for the 2013 Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship. Although Suzann Pettersen is the defending champion, and playing extremely well right now, any story of this event starts with the reason there is even a tournament here, Yani Tseng. What a difference a year makes. Last year when she played Sunrise, Yani was the #1 ranked player in the world. She has since gone a bit in reverse, trying to find the form that once made her the heir to the dominance of Lorena Ochoa, and before her, Annika Sorenstam. I always cheer for Yani to play well. I think beyond just being a great player, she embraces the role of being a great ambassador for the sport and the tour. It would wonderful to see her put on a performance in front of her home fans that reminds everybody of how great she was and could be again.
In the video above, when Na Yeon Choi was speaking Mandarin she was in front of a sign for Hazzys, a South Korean clothing line. She was doing a meet and great with her Taiwanese fans while promoting Hazzys at the Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Department Store. A lot of LPGA golfers other than Yani are popular in Taiwan, but it sure seems like NYC is a top favorite among the fans there.
I don’t want to end this post on a sour note, so I will put this little bit of news here and end with something more upbeat. Well, it worries me that Hsu Tienya, Chairman of the Sunrise Group has been ambivalent about whether the event will return next year. They are at the end of their contract to sponsor the tournament. Mr. Hsu has indicated that he hopes another sponsor will step in to take over the event, but he has also said Sunrise would would consider remaining the host and sponsor. I don’t think this spells the end of the event. More likely, this is part of the negotiating between Sunrise and the LPGA. I do worry when negotiation ploys spill out into the public. Knock on wood that this event stays on the LPGA tour calendar for many years to come.
Maybe good fortune will smile on this tournament as Yani Tseng was joined by Michelle Wie, Suzann Pettersen and Lexi Thompson on the 10th tee for a traditional sky lantern release. Let’s hope in addition to good golf and good weather, which is reportedly what the players wished for, that a wish for tournament longevity also sails into the sky with the lanterns.
Sunrise Golf & Country Club
Yang Mei, Taoyuan, Taiwan
Oct 24 – GC 12:00 PM-3:00 PM ET
Oct 25 – GC 12:00 PM-3:00 PM ET
Oct 26 – GC 12:00 PM-3:00 PM ET
Oct 27 – GC 12:00 PM-3:00 PM ET