The following excerpt comes from Dan Washburn’s new book “The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream,” which follows the lives of three men caught up in China’s bizarre — and, in some cases, illegal — golf scene. The passage below focuses on Zhou Xunshu, whose inspiring underdog story takes him from peasant farmer to […]

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I’d like to be able to say, “I knew this kid would be making headlines from the moment I met him.” But, to be completely honest, I didn’t event remember meeting him. If not for this tweet from a writer in Beijing, I’d still have no idea that I first wrote about Guan Tianlang — […]

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Zhou makes remarkable leap into professional golf

That’s the headline of my story for ESPN.com about Omega China Tour golfer Zhou Xunshu, who I have had the pleasure of spending a considerable amount of time with over the past seven months or so. Here’s the first few paragraphs: In 1984, when China ushered in its first modern-day golf course, Zhou Xunshu was […]

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Golf in China: All growing, all new, all raw

Check out my latest for ESPN.com here. A taste: But while buckets of cash can build record-setting golf facilities — at 216 holes, Mission Hills is the world’s largest — and bring in top-shelf talent — the HSBC event boasted the strongest field ever assembled in Asia — such achievements do little to advance China’s […]

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HSBC Champions: Golf still an elitist pursuit in China

This story originally appeared on ESPN.com.

washburnespngolf11122005-2.jpgby DAN WASHBURN

Sheshan International Golf Club, site of this week’s HSBC Champions tournament, is about an hour west of Shanghai — if you are lucky. The only way to get there from downtown is a start-and-stop ride along the Hu Ning “Expressway,” an overcrowded stretch of asphalt that cuts through a grim part of the city you won’t find mentioned in any tour book. Most spectators are bussed in and bussed out and never set foot outside the picturesque private grounds. And if you were part of that crowd on Thursday and Friday, it would be easy to draw this conclusion: China loves Tiger Woods.

In a nation of 1.3 billion, crowds are not hard to come by. But on a golf course? That’s something new in a country with only an estimated 200,000 people who play the sport, a country that didn’t have a golf course until 1984. The gallery following Woods for the tournament’s first two rounds easily topped 1,000. Some guessed it was closer to 2,000. That’s more than four times the number of fans who followed Ernie Els during the final round of the BMW Asian Open here in May.

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ESPN.com’s package on golf in China

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 […]

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