Shanking the China market

I’m a bit late on this, but apparent Tiger Woods lost a golf tournament in China. The article from ESPN is more about the reception of Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods among the Chinese fans. This actually makes sense, since the point of holding an event like this  in Asia is not really to hold an event, it is to attract the attention of customers who might buy Nike golf shoes or whatever.1 Woods apparently was not in a good mood at the event and did not  endear himself to the Chinese fans. Apparently Phil Mickelson is starting to challenge Tiger for the status of world’s greatest golfer.2 Even more important, he now has a Chinese nickname, meaning that he is catching up to Tiger in the even more important penetration of the Chinese market category. As a rule, if you small in China they just transliterate your name. If you are big you get a Chinese nickname.3 You would think Tiger would have that sewn up, being part Chinese and having an easy (if uncreative) nickname like “Lao Hu” (Tiger). But Mickleson is right behind him with the equally lame “Lao Mi” (Old Mi.) So apparently golf is getting some mindshare in China, but in a rather pedestrian way.

This seems to prove that golf is dull, since I can remember being in Taiwan in the 90’s and following 天飛牛 ( Heavenly Flying Cow) and his sidekick 小飛牛 (Little Flying Cow) as they battled for roundball supremacy against the 惡漢 (Loathsome Hero) and the Suns. Those were the only three guys in the association with real Chinese nicknames back then. Not sure if any of the current crop can match those.

  1. The people making the shoes might catch the match on TV, but they are not the real target here.  

  2. I’m not a golf fan 

  3. Politicians seem to be to0 important to get a Chinese nickname 

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