What sets Asian women apart?
Last updated: 18th December 2012
That Asian golf is on the move was once more underlined when Asia beat Europe in the annual Royal Trophy in Brunei on Sunday.
But this win for Asian men's golf can by no means be compared with the giant strides that have been taken by Asia's women golfers since the turn of the century.
As I wrote last week, Asians currently dominate women's professional golf in every way possible - and no more so than on the premier women's circuit, the US-based LPGA Tour, where Inbee Park, a favourite with those who like to bet on golf, topped the Tour's 2012 Money list ahead of fellow Korean Na Yeon Choi.
Indeed five of the leading six and seven of the top 10 money earners on this particular list are all Asian golfers, the bulk of them being Koreans.
The World Rankings list further highlights Asia's hold on women's golf.
Lead by Taiwan standout Yani Tseng and followed by Choi, eight of the top 10 golfers on the women's rankings list when the season ended were Asians.
Against this, Asian men's golf doesn't begin to compare. It's light years behind.
As I said, their play-off win over Europe on Sunday was indeed a step in the right direction, but it was achieved against a truly make-shift European team that included none of their big guns like World Nos 1, 2, 4 and 6, Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald, Justin Rose and Lee Westwood.
Indeed, the only members of this year's victorious European Ryder Cup team that played in Brunei this week were Belgian rookie Nicolas Colsaerts and Italy's Francesco Molinari.
In the meantime, the men's two biggest and highest-paying golf circuits, the US and European PGA Tours, both ended with Americans and Europeans, notably 23-year-old Northern Ireland whiz-kid Rory McIlroy, in the dominant positions with bookmakers like Paddy Power and others.
Not a single Asian appeared on the top 20 money lists of either Tour, only Rory McIroy (1st), Justin Rose (7), Luke Donald (14) and two South Africans, Louis Oosthuizen (15) and Ernie Els (16) breaking up what was otherwise an all-American US Tour money list headed by Tiger Woods at No 2 and FedEx Cup winner Brandt Snedeker at No 3.
In Europe it was pretty similar story for the Europeans, again topped by the 2012 men's golf standout of the year, McIlroy. It would have been made up entirely of European golfers but for the presence of three South Africans - Oosthuizen at No 3, Brandon Grace at No 6 and Charl Schwartzel at No 16
If we move on to the World Rankings list where points are up for grabs on all of the world's officially sanctioned Tours, including those in Asia and Japan, we see that it too continues to be dominated by Western Golfers.
As he did on both the US and Euro Tour money lists, McIlroy also topped the men's World Rankings list with England's Luke Donald second, The US's Tiger Woods third, another Englishman, Justin Rose, fourth, Australian Adam Scott fifth, a 4th Brit, Lee Westwood, 6th, Oosthuizen 7th and three Americans, Bubba Watson, Jason Dufner and Brandt Snedeker in the 8th,9th, and 10th slots.
Only two Asian golfers, Japan's Hiroyuki Fujita (No 43) and KJ Choi (48) made the top 50 on the men's World Rankings list this year and altogether there are only 13 Asians in the top 100, Korea's YE Yang, Asia's first Major winner at No 99, being one of them.
What makes this picture so intriguing is why Asian women should be so much more dominant in golf than their male counterparts in a sport that was discovered and developed by men and, certainly in the West, has socially and traditionally been seen as the preserve of gentlemen.
While the good old boys of Augusta National, home of the Masters, have, for the first time this year, only just opened their doors to one or two notable women, there are still a good few Golf Clubs around the world that restrict their membership to men only and even today in the west, where women's rights are greater than at any time in history, male golfers continue to outnumber their female counterparts by many thousands.
What then is Asian women's golf doing that makes it so different?
It would be a good idea if both female golfers in the West and male golfers in the East get out there and find out just what it is that makes Asia's women so successful.
Neville Leck Blog
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