Professional golfers were choking on the greens in Beijing, but it wasn't due to an outbreak of the yips.
Hazardous levels of pollution descended on the Chinese capital during its biggest sporting weekend of the year so far, affecting competitors and spectators alike at an LPGA golf event and the China Open tennis championship.
The sight of golfers wearing surgical-style face masks at the Reignwood LPGA Classic was hardly the advertisement that the sport was seeking for the first Ladies Professional Golf Association event to be held in China. Play was delayed for several hours Sunday to attempt to give the smog time to clear, before players including Germany's Sandra Gal, pictured here, took to the fairways donning masks.
The pollution levels -- which saw visibility drop to less than 500 meters at times, according to China's National Meteorological Centre, and prompted the U.S. Embassy to advise its citizens to stay indoors and run air purifiers -- has led to questions being raised of the viability of international sporting fixtures in the northern Chinese city, or at least their continued ability to draw big names.
Professional players remarked about the dire conditions, labelling the air quality "a disaster" and "a joke."
"How much of your life disappears when you spend time here? I get dizzy when I get up. If you blow your nose in the evening, the paper turns black. It's just not healthy to be here.
David Shin, director of Sporting Republic, a company that organizes sports events in Asia, said it was unlikely Beijing would be able to continue to attract big names at sporting events unless pollution issues were addressed.

So there you are professional athletes who accept huge sponsorship deals from leading western sports brands are complaining about pollution levels in Asia. Those same western brands all manufacture their sporting goods in Asia. Irresponsible manufacturing with a total disregard for the pollution they cause for the people who live and work in those countries. The money these brands save on sourcing cheap labour and using countries with non existent environmental policies enable a bigger marketing pot and sponsorship deals for top athletes. The exact shirts those professional players are wearing on their backs help create the poor air pollution. They are part of the problem. How about professional golfers wearing sports apparel manufactured in an ethical, environmentally friendly way?

Sandra Gal is a fantastic European golfer and now feels the need to wear a mask on the fairways.

Next time you see a sports apparel review in digital or printed media, picturing the latest colourful outfits be sure to recognise the brands have deliberately left out an essential piece of modern sportswear; a smog mask. It’s the one place they don’t wish their logos to be seen.

1 comment:

  1. Players and caddies were photographed wearing face-masks against a smoggy backdrop, none of those images appear on the LPGA website. Censorship for wearing too much clothing?