The 2009 Special Olympics International Golf Tournament has attracted the interest of both the domestic and international media. The official website of the LPGA gave extensive coverage to the opening day's play. Besides noting the participation of five players from the LPGA - Yani Tseng, Teresa Lu, Candie Kung, Amy Hung and Yu Ping Lin - the website also discussed the special spirit that characterizes Special Olympics events, and described the day's play. This is the first time that an official golfing website in the U.S. has given such extensive coverage to a competition held in Taiwan; the volunteers involved in organizing the Tournament are all very excited about it. This Special Olympics golfing tournament, organized by the KH Golf Foundation, has made a significant contribution towards boosting the international image of Taiwanese golf.
The Tournament Chairman, Ms. Eily Ho, said that she had been wanting to hold an international golfing competition in Taiwan for many years, and that the fact that the Tournament was proceeding so smoothly, and had been able to attract the enthusiastic support of professional golfers from the LPGA, was confirmation of Taiwan's ability to host international events of this type. She said that when Taiwan plays host to an international competition, it is important that, besides making sure that people in Taiwan know about it, people in other countries are also made aware of the fact that Taiwan is capable of holding such an event successfully.
The Special Olympics International Golf Tournament is now in its second day; the good fellowship that has developed between the competitors over these two days is readily apparent. The second round of the Level 4 competition was held in the morning. Chiu Li-Fu, a member of the Chinese Taipei team, kindly helped fellow team-member Shen Kuan-Ting to improve his stance when teeing off; Huang Wei-Han's teachers and classmates had hired a coach to attend the event and cheer him on. Chinese Taipei team member Chen Shou-Hao was in the second pair to tee off, along with Hong Kong competitor Chiang Wen-Shan; after being told by his coach that it was her birthday today, Chen shyly wished her a happy birthday, demonstrating praiseworthy sportsmanship. In the Level 5 competition, the highest level competition in the Tournament, many of the competitors have single-figure handicaps. Their performance left the audience deeply impressed. Yani Tseng and Candie Kung said that they had both learned a lot from observing the concentration and outstanding technique that these Special Olympics golfers displayed.
The Tournament organizers had arranged for the LPGA golfers to give golfing master-classes when the competitions were over for the day. Candie Kung and Teresa Lu demonstrated high balls, low balls and other special shots, while Yani Tseng demonstrated long drives using a variety of unusual stances; there was loud applause from those watching. This was followed by the LPGA Players Interview, during which Ms. Eily Ho, the Tournament Chairperson, invited the LPGA players Yani Tseng, Candie Kung, Amy Hung and Teresa Lu to tell the Special Olympics golfers, volunteers, team leaders, coaches and physical education college students attending the event about how their careers had developed. The overseas competitors were eager to ask the LPGA players about their careers; besides technical questions about golfing technique, they were also interested to learn how the LPGA players coped with pressure and setbacks.
Despite their intellectual disabilities, the questions that the athletes put to the professional golfers were often very profound, reminding us once again that these individuals are basically just the same as the rest of us. For example, one athlete asked what the LPGA players did in a situation where they had been playing well in practice, but then when the competition started their game went to pieces; Yani Tseng said that in a situation like this she would shorten her upswing, and then use deep breathing to try to adjust her rhythm, to ensure that the next shot was perfect.
The four leading professional golfers shared some of the secrets of their success. Yani Tseng said that, as far as she was concerned, she had still not achieved success. Candie Kung said that the secret to success was constant practice. Teresa Lu pointed out that golf can bring you happiness, but it can also bring you sadness; all of the competitors nodded their heads in agreement. She went on to say that the important thing was to stay cheerful, so that you can transform unhappiness into happiness; never give up.
After being around the Special Olympics athletes for several days, Amy Hung said that she was very impressive by their golfing skill and by their attitude; she said loudly, and quite seriously, to the Special Olympics golfers in the audience: "You are my idols now; I am your biggest fan!"