Mazda adds drive to Kelly’s offense

Kelly Tan poses next to a Madza 3 SkyActiv sedan
Kelly Tan

Shah Alam [SELANGOR]: Kelly Tan’s preparation for her second full season as a professional literally moved up a gear after the talented lass inked a one-year sponsorship deal with Bermaz Motor Sdn Bhd.

While no official figure was released by the exclusive distributor of Mazda cars in Malaysia, the cash deal will nonetheless serve as a major financial boost for Kelly, who is seeking to build on a decent rookie year in 2014, when she finished 89th on the LPGA money list.

The 21-year-old Johorean, who is the top-ranked Malaysian on the Rolex Rankings at 244th, is the second domestic lady professional to join the Mazda sponsorship stable after Ladies European Tour (LET) player Ainil Johani Abu Bakar.

Speaking ahead of the signing ceremony on Monday, Datuk Seri Ben Yeoh Choon San, the executive director of Bermaz Motor Sdn Bhd, explained that the sponsorship deal came out as a result of a shared vision between the brand and the professionals.

“At Mazda, our “Never Give Up Attitude” philosophy has seen our engineers defy conventions and push boundaries in introducing world-renowned automotive innovations such as the SKYACTIV technology, which is now adopted in all our latest generation vehicle range,” said Yeoh.

“Similarly, we see the same attitude being shown by these young lady golfers, who clearly possess the challenger spirit in pursuing their dreams on some of the world’s most competitive professional golf circuits.

“We have watched Kelly’s exploits from her amateur days and we’re pleased to know that she has done well – not only earning her LPGA card at the very first attempt but also securing it for another year. We would like to support her in that endeavour and we hope she will inspire the future generation to excel at this dynamic and high-profile global sport,” he noted.

Kelly, who will carry the Mazda logo on her sleeve, shared that the sponsorship deal will help meet her Tour commitments, which begin in January at the US$1.5 million Coates Golf Championship in Orlando.

“I’m very fortunate that Mazda have agreed to back me next year and they have indicated that their commitment towards a long-standing relationship, which is really nice,” shared Kelly.

“The sponsorship is very important to me because it means I don’t have to worry about my financial commitments next year. I spend an average of US$2,000 per week on Tour and that’s on a real tight budget, so you can imagine how much the bills run up if I play 20-25 events a season.

Kelly believes that experience is the only difference between succeeding or failing on the elite ladies circuit. “I made a couple of wrong calls this year which cost me quite a bit and I feel that I will be more mature in handling those pressure moments and making the right decisions.

“My goal for 2015 is to finish inside the top-60 of the money list, which will give me automatic entry into all the big purse events on the autumn Asian swing. I thought I had a decent chance this year but my form came a little too late but in perspective, I’m really pleased with my strong rookie showing and to have secured my card for another year, added Kelly, who will have Lydia Ko’s former caddie Mickey Millburn on her bag next season.