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ESPN.com’s package on golf in China

You just might recognize the author

ESPN.com, the internet’s sports website of record, is running two stories I wrote about golf in China:

Golf in China grows bigger by the day
Chinese events bring interesting questions

At the time of this posting, the package was ESPN.com’s featured story on the site’s main page. But that changes pretty often, so here is a screen shot. It’s also the lead story on ESPN.com’s golf page (screen shot).

And yes, I think this is all pretty cool. It’s not too often you get to write for one of your favorite websites. (Even if they do initially spell your name wrong.)

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05.19.2005, 2:20 AM · Featured, Sports, Stories · Comments (2)

MLB invests in China’s baseball growth

A version of this story appeared in the May 11, 2005 online edition of Baseball America.


SHANGHAI — The China Baseball League celebrated its Opening Day in April, but in Shanghai, the country’s showpiece “international city,” the invitations must have been lost in the mail. As the fledgling pro league’s Shanghai Eagles and Tianjin Lions battled it out in the ironically named Shanghai Sports Palace, a dusty field far northwest of city center, there was more activity at a bustling fish market nearby.

About 75 fans and curious onlookers were scattered throughout the stadium’s 800 or so seats, and they were treated to an exciting game. Shanghai, last in the league in wins and attendance since the CBL launched in 2002, squandered a 4-0 lead in the ninth inning and ended up losing 9-5 in 12 innings. Most of the cheering during the game, however, came from the dugouts.

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05.17.2005, 3:48 AM · Sports, Stories · Comments (2)

I am very, very juicy. (Wait — I mean sleepy.)

juicy.jpgSo this trip to the U.S. that I only took because I had a ticket I had already paid for may end up costing me around $800. That’s for a one-way ticket. Fun. Here’s the scoop: At the Pudong airport, I was flagged for not having a paper ticket. Now, I knew something like this might happen. I used the first half of the round-trip ticket way back in May 2004. The return flight was originally supposed to be six months later in November, but I was somewhere in Guizhou at the time. My travel agent said no problem — he could change the flight for me, so long as I left for New York before May 8, 2005. After that, the ticket was no good. So I left on Sunday, May 8, knowing that I would likely have to pay a $150 date-change fee. Nothing more. But the Northwest Airlines people and my travel agent apparently disagree about the “nothing more” part. NWA seems to think I should pay for a whole new ticket. They ended up letting me on the flight for the $150, though, and said they would deal with my travel agent this week. So I’m in New York at the SoHo Apple store and I love this city and it’s great to see friends and the weather is nice and the Yankees have won two in a row and it will be nice to see family and even more friends. But paying for this trip defeats the whole purpose of making this trip. And $800 for a one-way ticket is fucking ridiculous. I’ll keep you posted.

So, on the Tokyo to New York flight, the woman — mid to late 30s, I think — sitting next to me watched ballroom dancing movies on her portable DVD player. She was decked out in a pink velour track suit that had “JUICY” printed on the butt (I have since learned that this crap is actually somewhat popular, “especially with jappy Long Island girls”).

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05.10.2005, 10:50 AM · Observations, Travel · Comments (4)

I am leaving China!

(And then I am coming back!)

I fly to New York City on Sunday for a stateside trip I wasn’t really planning until a couple weeks ago. That’s when I learned that the return flight on a ticket I own — the first leg of which I used last May on my way back to Shanghai from Brian and Jill’s wedding — expires on May 8. So, I’m using it … on May 8.

The timing of the trip works out quite well, actually. In New York, I can meet with my literary agent face-to-face and hopefully get things moving on my book project. And, later in May, Dave, Lani and Sam will be in Pennsylvania — so prepare yourselves for many more photos of my nephew.

Other than that, I don’t have much planned. I’ll need to buy a ticket to get back to Shanghai — the cheaper the better — and I was thinking about trying to find a travel agent in New York’s Chinatown (any suggestions?). Maybe I’ll buy a new computer, seeing how my iBook’s hard drive appears to be fried again. Maybe I’ll help my dad sell his house — half of which is in my name — so I can actually afford a new computer. And maybe, while I’m home, the Yankees will actually win a game.

I’ll be spending most of my U.S. time in Bloomsburg, Pa., but I also plan on visiting New York, D.C. and maybe either Pittsburgh or Philadelphia. If you live any of those places and would like to get together — or buy me a new computer — drop me a line.

05.06.2005, 3:15 PM · Site News · Comments (5)

Luxury cars, pro golfers and dirty underwear

The nice thing about covering a professional golf tournament sponsored by BMW is that there’s always a chance you might catch a ride home in a BMW. That happened to me three times during the Asian Open, which concluded Monday — a day late because of rain — at Tomson Golf Club in Pudong.

On Sunday, I shared a 7 Series Sedan with a caddie and two golfers who were competing in the tournament … and I had no idea who they were. I didn’t want to ask — I thought that would be insulting. It would also have been a little embarrassing. I mean, I was wearing a media badge — I was writing about the freaking tournament — so you would think I should be able to recognize the competitors. But I couldn’t. You’d be surprised how little golf you actually watch when covering a golf tournament.

A little internet digging told me that the professional athlete seated directly in front of me in the passenger seat was Richard Sterne. The professional athlete to my left — seated on the hump seat — was Wade Ormsby. “I’ll sit in the middle,” he offered. “I’m small.”

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05.04.2005, 2:38 PM · Humor, Observations, Photos, Sports · Comments (1)

China’s top golfer demands more domestic support

Zhang: Playing for PRC an “ordeal”

Coverage of the BMW Asian Open, a professional golf tournament co-sanctioned by the European Tour and the Asian Tour. A version of this story appeared in the May 1, 2005 edition of the South China Morning Post (subscription only).


SHANGHAI — China’s top-ranked golfer Zhang Lian Wei criticized his government and Chinese companies Saturday, delivering an emotional post-round press conference that elicited applause from members of the Chinese media covering the BMW Asian Open at Tomson Golf Club.

Zhang, who turns 40 on Monday, said he has never received any state funding during his historic 11-year career. He added that he has zero domestic sponsors.

“It’s such an ordeal playing golf in China over the years,” Zhang said, his voice cracking at times. “It’s tough, it’s difficult and it’s lonely. I know golf is not an Olympic sport, but I think the sports authorities should at least have shown some kind of support, like air tickets or something, to show their appreciation of my contributions to Chinese golf.”

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05.03.2005, 1:20 PM · Photos, Sports, Stories · Comments (2)

Els to fans: Put your phones on vibrate

Coverage of the BMW Asian Open, a professional golf tournament co-sanctioned by the European Tour and the Asian Tour. A version of this story appeared in the April 30, 2005 edition of the South China Morning Post (subscription only).


SHANGHAI — There are, by the most recent count, some 330 million mobile phones in China, so it’s not too surprising that one of them happened to be five feet away from Ernie Els as he lined up a putt Friday during the second round of the BMW Asian Open at Tomson Golf Club in Shanghai.

Els was at hole No. 6 and, already at 13-under for the tournament, enjoying a rather commanding lead. He was putting from 10 feet for his third consecutive birdie, his fifth on the first six holes of the back nine.

And then that darn phone rang.

Els stopped his putt in mid-swing, turned around and smiled at the phone’s owner, a middle-aged Asian woman. Others weren’t so kind. Fans yelled at her in English and Mandarin. She managed to stop the ringing — and then the phone rang again.

“It happens a lot more over here,” said Els, the world No. 3. “It seems like everyone has a camera and everyone has a mobile phone that can also take pictures. Most of the time I take it in stride, but hopefully it doesn’t happen too often over the weekend, because it is a bit of a distraction. You want a bit of quiet over the ball.”

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05.03.2005, 12:20 PM · Photos, Sports, Stories


Shanghai Diaries is a website about Shanghai, China ... and lots of other stuff. Voted Best Mainland China Blog in the 2004 Asia Blog Awards.

Editor: Dan Washburn

Related: Shanghaiist and Mudan Boutique

Dan is a freelance writer living in Shanghai. More about Dan.

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