My story for CNN Money: China declares war on ‘forbidden game’ of golf


There are no Chinese golfers participating in The Masters this week, and perhaps that is fitting. It’s already been a rough spring for “the rich man’s game” in China.
On March 30, Chinese authorities announced the closure of 66 “illegal” golf courses — roughly 10% of all courses in the country — in an apparent attempt to start enforcing a long-ignored ban on golf-related construction.
The following day, the Commerce Ministry announced that one of its senior officials was under investigation for “participating in a company’s golf event,” thus putting him on the wrong side of President Xi Jinping’s “eight rules” against extravagance among government officials.
In Xi’s China, being put “under investigation” is tantamount to being found guilty. Since embarking on his seemingly ceaseless anti-corruption campaign more than two years ago, hundreds of thousands of officials at all levels of government have been put in the crosshairs.
The biggest names caught in the web are called “tigers.” That’s not a golf reference, but China’s current crackdown on the sport does show how pervasive and unpredictable Xi’s crusade has become.

Read the rest at CNN Money.