Baby steps for Tiffany Chan but she hopes to walk like a Tiger on tour as she ‘chases the dream not the money’ in the Lion City
Hong Kong’s first LPGA golfer is up against the very best in the world at ‘Asian Major’ in just her third tournament at this level
Golfer Tiffany Chan Tsz-ching is still taking baby steps in terms of her own career but Hong Kong’s first member of the world’s premier professional tour wants to one day walk among the giants of the game.
“Look at Tiger Woods,” Chan said on Wednesday. “We all looked up to Tiger Woods when we were young, and he was the reason lots of us started getting into golf.
“Now everyone is crazy about him again and I want to be one of those people like him. Of course, Tiger is Tiger, but if I could be a role model like him for the game that would be great.”
There has been a Tiger-like swirl of attention for the young golfer as she picks up a sponsors invite for an event that has been labelled the “Asian major” on the LPGA schedule and Chan is rising to the occasion.
The past week has also seen Chan add to her corporate portfolio, signing a deal with the Peninsula Hotels group.
“There is a lot of attention on me, making it on tour and as a touring pro and this is a good thing for golf,” said Chan. “I would love to be someone who people look up to and someone who helps lead them to golf.
“I think every country needs one, just someone who actually does it, who gets on tour and shows that it can be done. Just like Tiger Woods.”
Just two tournaments into her LPGA career, Chan will this week make a great leap forward as she lines up for the US$1.5 million HSBC Women’s World Championship among a field that includes 19 of the world’s top 20 players, many of whom were – like Woods – the 20-year-old’s heroes as she grew up.
Tuesday saw Chan clock in for promotional duties alongside the likes of China’s world number one Feng Shanshan and South Korea’s former world number ones Inbee Park and So Yeon-ryu, as well as the player who could soon be on top of the game in American Lexi Thompson.
It was admittedly a nervy afternoon for Chan, who had also earlier fronted up in Singapore for her first ever live television broadcast. Her heart had stopped pounding come Wednesday and she was looking forward to mixing it up with the best in the world.
“It’s good to have such a big atmosphere as it will push me to perform, as well as meet people. More media exposure is fun for me. I really like that,” said Chan. “I was able to go up to these players and say hi. These are people I had always wanted to meet – Lexi, Inbee, So-ryu.
“Obviously, Shanshan is the biggest hero in our country. I’ve known her since I was 12 and we have played together and she is an inspiration. But to be part of an event with them all, as someone who has just graduated to this tour, is really something special.”
Chan came across as calm and quietly confident on her live TV debut – but said she was feeling anything but.
“It was nerve-racking,” she laughed. “I have taken public speaking classes but I was just worried because it’s live and I couldn’t take anything I said back. Luckily, I was all right with that.”
Play for Chan across the Sentosa Golf Club’s Tanjong Course begins on Thursday morning at 9.06am alongside Canadian Alena Sharp and Korean Lee Jeong-eun. She finished tied for 66th on her LPGA debut in the Bahamas before missing the cut – by one shot – at the Australian Open.
“In my third event I am facing all the world’s top players,” said Chan. “I am just trying to do my thing, not change too much and at the same time learn from them. My motto is ‘chase the dream not the money’,” she said.
“If you chase the money you’ll never be happy. So I am just trying to chase my dream and to do what I am good at.”