The opening shots were fired in the build-up to the BMW Masters on Tuesday, when two of China’s leading players claimed the bragging rights over Europe Ryder Cup stars Thomas Bjorn and Jamie Donaldson in a friendly nearest-the-pin contest.
Donaldson, who claimed the winning point for Europe in the Ryder Cup match against the United States at Gleneagles last month, was closest to the pin for the Europeans, but Wu Ashun, twice a winner on the Japan Tour, and rising star Li Hao-Tong were equal to the challenge, with Li getting his ball to within 1.2 metres of the hole. In a press conference prior to the ‘shootout’ Mr Karsten Engel, President and CEO of BMW Group Region China kicked-off the BMW Masters
The next day, three Ryder Cup stars and one of China’s top golfers rose to a fun challenge on the eve of the BMW Masters. Ian Poulter and Wu Ashun felt they made an unbeatable partnership in the electrifying BMW i8, but they had not reckoned on the fearsome fighting spirit of rivals Justin Rose and Paul McGinley.
In competitive terms, it looked like a non-starter. For while Poulter and Wu were able to call on plenty of horse power in their plug-in hybrid sports car, Rose and McGinley had nothing but pedal power to rely on. Their mode of transport? A tandem. It is amazing what determination and cunning can do. With McGinley relying on the tactical skills he used in captaining Europe to a resounding victory over the United States at Gleneagles, the ‘race’ was anything but a foregone conclusion.
So while Poulter and Wu had plenty of speed to call on, Rose and McGinley had all the guile. After all, a bike doesn’t have to stick to the road does it? You could say that one team took the ‘high’ road, the other took the ‘low’ road. In the event, a dead heat seemed a fair result. For Poulter and Wu there was a little disappointment. But for Rose and McGinley it was Joy unconfined.
Knowing that a draw was not what any of the players wanted it was decided to settle matters with a nearest-the-hole shootout from a bunker at the 18th. All four players hit their ball at the same time and Wu emerged triumphant after finding the hole.