New sponsorship deal for Chinese team

The China Golf Association and TaylorMade-adidas Golf (TMaG) announced a major deal.

Updated: March 22, 2007 06:37 IST
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Beijing:The China Golf Association and TaylorMade-adidas Golf (TMaG) announced a major deal on Tuesday, under which the manufacturer will supply China's national golf teams. For the next three years, TMaG will supply the teams with its golfing equipment and apparel, with TMaG's flagship brands -Taylor Made, adidas Golf and Maxfli - becoming the official brands of the national side. As part of the agreement, TMaG will also make a major financial investment in the development of golf in China by supporting a number of talented young Chinese players. "We believe that China has what it takes to become the world next golfing superpower. That is why we will continue our effort here, that is why we are proud to be a part of what we believe this history in the making," said Dennis P Allen, Vice President and Managing Director of TaylorMade-adidas Golf. China has about 300-thousand golfers who play at least once a week, Allen said - a tiny percentage of its 1.3 billion population. The figure rises to five million for golfers who play at least once every six months. China has pinned its hopes on its female golf players enjoying the same high profile as other sports stars - in particular - Yao Ming, the centre with the Houston Rockets of the American NBA. "We believe that it is possible for us to have some breakthrough first among the Chinese female golf players, we might have our female golf player as famous as Yao Ming in the world in the future," said Zhang Xiaoning, Chief secretary of China Golf Association. China's top male golfer is probably Zhang Lianwei. The top two women professionals are Zuang Ping and Zhang Na. Chinese players are clearly aware of the big gap between them and their foreign competitors. Golf is expensive in China, and the rules and etiquette of the game are largely unknown. A weekday round of golf at a moderately priced club can cost about $125 dollars (euro 96), according to a TMaG official. The price can be three or four times that much on the weekend. Like other largely western sports, the spread of golf in China offers enormous marketing possibilities aimed at China's rapidly growing middle class.

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