Golf is not played in a dome or a bubble, nor is it impervious to outside forces of nature and politics. The nature part is as obvious as a rain delay. The politics part is usually tougher to spot.
But that’s not the case this week as the best women golfers in the world play the Honda LPGA Thailand event in Chonburi, about an hour southeast of central Bangkok where thousands of protesters continue to clash with police.
Overshadowed internationally by the killing of civilians in Kiev, Ukraine, the Thailand protestors also are demanding a change the country’s government. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has taken refuge in a makeshift office in the country’s defense compound (Thailand’s Pentagon), while five people were killed in clashes with government forces on Tuesday.
You would never know it from the smiles and hugs at the Siam Country Club, even though LPGA officials confirm that they closely have been monitoring the political tensions for months, and that a plan is in place should problems spill over into the countryside.
Unlike the Ukraine, where upwards of 50 people have been killed in the streets and hundreds more have been wounded by gunfire as police and military forces crack down, the Thailand protests are taking place in a relatively small area of Bangkok, an area that seems to be a world away from the golfers at Chonburi.
Anna Nordqvist shot an opening 66 to take a one-shot lead on Michelle Wie and two clear of Lexi Thompson, Jennifer Johnson and Angela Stanford, who had a hole-in-one of the 138-yard eighth hole.
No player mentioned the protests.