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Six degrees

Mark Footer

 

Fanling marks the centre of the golfing universe today, as this year's UBS Hong Kong Open draws to a close. Founded in 1959, the competition was, for its first 10 years, won by only Australian and Taiwanese players, the very first of whom was Lu Liang-huan …

 

"Mr Lu", as he became known to golf fans the world over, would win the Hong Kong Open again in 1974, but had his finest season three years earlier, when he triumphed at the French Open and finished runner-up at The Open at Britain's Royal Birkdale, behind the great Lee Buck Trevino …

 

"The Merry Mex" (Trevino is Mexican-American) is known for having a sense of humour - "You know, Columbus went around the world in 1492. That's not a lot of strokes when you consider the golf course" - and was given a cameo role in the 1996 Adam Sandler comedy Happy Gilmore, a film about an unsuccessful ice-hockey player that became noted more for gratuitous product placements than it was for artistic merit. Also appearing as himself in that movie is former television game-show host Bob Barker …

 

The man who invited more The Price is Right contestants to "come on down" than any other is a staunch supporter of animal rights. In 1987, he stepped down from a 20-year run as presenter of the Miss USA/Universe pageants when the organisers refused his request to remove fur prizes from the competitions. In 2010, Barker provided US$5 million for the purchase and outfitting of a ship designed to disrupt Japanese whaling operations, as part of the fleet of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society …

 

Sea Shepherd is a non-profit marine conservation group that has been able to count on a number of high-profile supporters; the MY Bob Barker can drop anchor alongside the MY Steve Irwin (named after the late Australian wildlife expert) and the MV Brigitte Bardot. The French former sex kitten has given her name to many other things over the years, among them a neckline (a wide open neck that exposes both shoulders) and a patch of green grass behind two small round mounds either side of a sand bunker: the 15th hole at the Royal Golf Club, in Marrakesh, Morocco, a course that was once a favourite of Dwight D. Eisenhower …

 

Unlike David Petraeus, "Ike" was a top general who did make it into the White House. The 34th president of the United States was a keen golfer, and it was after him that the Eisenhower Trophy was named. A biennial amateur team championship inaugurated in 1958, the event has been staged on the Asian mainland just twice, the first time being in 1984, when the Japanese team (top) were victorious at the Royal Hong Kong Golf Club, in Fanling.

 

 

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