EFG banks on Tiffany Chan with major sponsorship deal for new Hong Kong professional golfer
Tuen Muen-native returns to defend Hong Kong Ladies Open title between June 9-11 at Hong Kong Golf Club
Hong Kong Olympian Tiffany Chan Tsz-ching embarks on her first professional event in defence of her Hong Kong Ladies Open title next week safe in the knowledge she can focus on the job of competing in the paid ranks after signing a major sponsorship deal with Swiss private bank EFG.
Tuen Muen-native Chan, 23, returned to Hong Kong this week after graduating from the University of Southern California with golfer rather than student listed as her profession ahead of the 54-hole EFG Hong Kong Ladies Open between June 9-11 at Hong Kong Golf Club.
And when she departs the city for the Decatur-Forsyth Classic in Illinois the following week, which will be her first event on the second-tier Symetra Tour in the United States, Chan’s expenses for the next three years will all be taken care of thanks to the continued support of the bank and Asia-Pacific chief executive Albert Chiu.
“EFG Bank have had a long-term partnership with the Hong Kong team, and I was one of the kids from the junior programme, so they have been supporting the Hong Kong team before, but now finally I can announce a partnership as I couldn’t before as an amateur,” said Chan.
“They know what I need becoming a pro for expenses for playing in the United States and they have taken away the pressure of all the expenses for travelling so I can focus on my own game.
“I am very fortunate; most athletes won’t have this kind of support.”
Neither party disclosed financial details of the partnership, which will see Chan become an EFG global sport ambassador, but a Forbes article in 2012 suggested US$75,000 would be required to support one year on the second-tier men’s circuit in the United States.
Considering inflation, Chan could expect to require around US$200,000 just to cover her expenses over the next two-and-a-half years on the Symetra Tour, which could rise to as much as US$120,000 per year should she achieve her goal and qualify for the main LPGA Tour.
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Last year’s Symetra Tour order of merit winner, Madelene Sagstrom from Sweden, won just under US$170,000 from 15 events in 2016, and has amassed just under US$50,000 from eight events on the LPGA Tour this season.
“Turning pro as a young golfer is very tough, you don’t have sponsors and you need the air tickets, particularly as Tiffany wants to qualify for the LPGA. You also have accommodation and the caddie, so we want to give her some financial assurance to make sure she does not need a part time job teaching,” said Chiu after the bank extended its association with golf in Hong Kong, which began as sponsor of the junior development programme in 2009.
“She does not need to worry about this and can just do well and one day shine for Hong Kong on the big stage and win an LPGA Tour tournament or one of the majors.
“The number we have given will cover most, it not all, of her expenses in the States, and also there are bonuses if she qualifies for the LPGA Tour or wins a tournament.”
Chan will be left with 13 events to earn a top-10 finish on the Symetra Tour money list that will hand her a card on the LPGA Tour next season, with a top-20 finish securing a place in the final round of qualifying school which is the same stage she reached this year, having begun in the first round.