|Mission Hills Haikou holds fond memories for Danielle Montgomery who has played at the stunning venue several times. Not only has she twice played in the World Ladies Championship, but she also appeared in the Celebrity Cup and was voted the Best Dressed Player at the WLC in 2012.
You have played at Mission Hills Haikou a number of times. How does it feel to be going back?
Yes, this will be my fourth time to Mission Hills, Haikou and I get so excited every time. It definitely is the best stop on tour and really feels like a home away from home now.
What is special about this venue?
It is like a Disney Land for golfers. All of the courses are magnificent and always kept in such great condition. Then of course there is the hotel, it is such a luxurious hotel with so many great amenities that I feel so fortunate to stay there.
How does this compare with the other venues on tour?
The venue is by far the best. I think because we get to stay right on the course and everyone is there it creates a great atmosphere.
Have you ever played on the Blackstone Course?
Yes, I played it for the World Celebrity Pro Am in 2012. It is a magnificent course and definitely a challenge. There is a lot of rock off the fairway so any wayward shots are unplayable so it will be an interesting week.
What was it like to play in the Celebrity Cup and how does this compare with the WLC?
The celebrity event was by far my best experience so far as a professional golfer. To be a part of the event was a huge honour and so much fun. I got to meet some amazing people and thoroughly got spoilt. Mind you every time we come to Mission Hills we get spoilt! The Pro Am was more of a relaxed format than the WLC. Even though we were still playing for prize money we had amateurs in the group so you have to look after them a bit too so you can’t be 100% into your own game . Also the crowds at the WCPA were very excitable and quite a few balls got stolen off the fairways during the week!
When was this and with whom did you play?
I played with a very famous actor from Hong Kong, Simon Yam. He played the bad guy in the first Lara Croft movie. He was so lovely to me that when it rained and my caddy (brother!!) forgot our umbrella he gave me his.
Did you get star struck at all?
Not really. It was just interesting to see them all in real life.
What do you think about playing in China?
I’ve been playing in China for five to six years now so I have seen how much and how quickly it has developed. The Chinese just love their golf and they have worked really hard to build the sport up. There are now so many courses throughout the county and there is also a very strong China LPGA. They have always been so welcoming to foreigners too and for that I am always very thankful. The Chinese players are also going so well that it is nice to see all their hard work paying off.
What do you think of the food?
I find it a little difficult sometimes as I do not eat red meat and the Chinese like to eat everything from anything. I feel silly sometimes as I’m constantly asking "What’s in this?" But once I do find something I can eat it is always delicious. They really know how to cook well and it is such a great experience to enjoy a traditional Chinese meal.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever eaten and is there anything you won’t eat?
I was made to try Mud Crabs last time I was in Shanghai and because I was the guest they offered me the best part of it which I felt obliged to try. Once Id had it they figured out the translation and turns out I ate the females ovaries so that wasn't so good!! Things I don't eat are Shark Fin and Turtle and that is due to moral issues, as well as the red meat.
What are your personal goals for the WLC?
I have been playing well leading into this event but I haven't quite put a good score together. I feel it is coming soon so if I keep working on the things I have been and it all comes together I would definitely see myself in the top 10.
About your personal life, if you don’t mind sharing, what are your plans for the future?
At the moment I am completing my PGA course in Australia. I decided this year, since I didn't have full status I would love to get that behind me. When my playing days are over I still want to be involved with golf and would love to have my own events company organising corporate events.
Would you mind telling us about your tennis pro boyfriend John Peers and how did you meet?
We met at a fellow players wedding, Kate Little (Combes) as he is her cousin. We hit it off from the start but it took us a couple of years to actually get together but I guess the timing was right so it worked out well.
Does he play golf?
He is actually very good, plays off about 5 without much practice so we have some good matches.
What have you been doing over the off season; have you been doing anything asides from playing golf?
My boyfriend is a tennis player so I have been working on my tennis skills and also travelling with him a little. I also played all of the ALPG events so we didn't really get an off season just an off week.
How have you been preparing for the WLC at Mission Hills?
Fortunately, having played there before I have an idea of what shots I am going to need. I have been working on my driver and fairway woods as it played quite long on some holes last time and also accuracy off the tee is important.