Golf champions Phil Mickelson and Li Haotong recently led a youth golf clinic in Macau.
The event, a joint initiative between Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS) and its subsidiary in Macau, Sands China Ltd. invited the two top players of the moment, including World Golf Hall of Famer Mickelson, to share their talent, skills and tips on the game with a group of 30 young golfers from the Macau Junior Golf Club Association, the Zhang Lianwei Sports Development Foundation and the Macau Special Olympics (MSO).
Rob Goldstein, president and chief operating officer of LVS, expressed the company’s feelings about hosting the event. “We are honored to have Phil and Haotong in Macau, and glad that they were able to connect with our guests and the local community. We are committed to supporting Macau’s transformation into a world-class leisure and business tourism destination and will continue to work with role models like Phil and Haotong who inspire and educate the local community here,” Goldstein remarked.
After a morning dedicated to the Pro-Am tournament at the Macau Golf and Country Club, the professional golfers spent the afternoon with local youth at the Caesars Golf Macau, participating in a series of games, challenges and skills-practice, giving the young golfers the opportunity to team up with pros and learn from them.
Boasting two European Tour victories at the age of 24 and one of the most exciting new players in the game, Li displayed his talent at the golf clinic, demonstrating his putting ability and several other skills in challenges and games.
After the event, Li shared his experience of the coaching day.
“We had a lot of fun coaching some promising young golfers today. It was an inspiring afternoon for us all and I hope they’ll walk away with a few helpful pointers. The young athletes here seem very dedicated to improving their skills. It is so exciting to see that golf is loved and played by so many young people here in Macau,” Li said.
The Chinese player commented on the qualities of the sport, saying that in his opinion, it “teaches many values, from patience to sportsmanship,” adding that he was very happy to be able to meet the young Macau golfers and to pass this message onto them.
During the event, Li advised those who, like him, want to pursue the sport at a higher level, saying, “You must love the game. You must love what you are doing, otherwise, you will get bored easily.”
Visiting Macau for the first time, Mickelson said that during his career he has been “fortunate to travel the world playing golf, and to be able to come and get to know new places like Macau is very special.”
He also added that he hopes that through events like the Sands Junior Golf Clinic, “golf [will] become more accessible to the community here, because it is such a great sport and has been such an important part of my life that gave me so many gifts that I feel that is my duty to give back to the game, to help promote it, and to introduce it to many young players and get them involved in the game.”
Sharing his insights and the aspects that played a major role in improving his own game, Mickelson pointed out that two factors contributed enormously to the leap forward of his game – nutrition and physical fitness.
“I started to recover better from my training sessions by changing my diet, having a healthier diet and eating a smaller quantity,” he said, adding, “working out [outside of golf practice] also helped a lot, and contributed significantly to boost my career.”
Joy at the opportunity – and hopes that it would continue – were in the thoughts of some of the youngsters who had the chance to meet and play with these professionals. “[I’m] so glad I had the opportunity to participate in this event and play golf with the masters. I hope we will meet again soon,” Tam Chan Kit from the MSO said.
The Macao Junior Golf Club Association’s Emily Huen added, “Phil Mickelson and Li Haotong have always been my favorite players, so I was very excited to see these top players in action, up close and personal. Activities like this helped me appreciate golf more and inspired me to approach each game with enthusiasm and passion, in turn giving me a new perspective on how I look at the sport.”
During the press conference that announced the partnership of LVS and Sands China with the Chinese golfer as their new brand ambassador, the president of Sands China, Dr. Wilfred Wong, remarked that, “Sands China has always placed importance on leveraging our entertainment and leisure events to give the local community a chance to interact with some of the leading figures in their industries. We hope this youth clinic inspires its participants to work hard for their goals while learning from these two exceptional professionals as they share their skills and passion for their sport.”
Wong also said that the event is one example of LVS’s role in bringing sporting events and professional athletes to Macau, showing the company’s commitment to increasing access to opportunities for young people.
Showing his appreciation for the organizer of the event, which continues on in the tradition started by Sands China with the appointment of former footballer David Beckman as brand ambassador, was the CEO and national director of MSO, Hetzer Siu, who said, “Sands China has established a long history of engaging with our athletes.”
“Our members have thoroughly enjoyed their interactions with superstars like David Beckham at Sands China’s events, and they were very excited to be meeting two famous professional golfers at this clinic. MSO is grateful to Sands China for their continued effort to support our mission of inclusiveness for Macau’s athletes with intellectual disabilities,” Siu added.