Long-term international golf sponsor HSBC has hailed China as the “unstoppable force” in world golf as it prepares to celebrate the tenth anniversary of its game-changing WGC-HSBC Champions tournament.
For the second year running, 40 of the world’s Top 50 golfers will line up in Shanghai next month (November 6-9) as China cements its position at the top table of global golf with another show-stopping field.
HSBC Global Head of Sponsorship & Events Giles Morgan said: “Whichever way you look at it, China is the unstoppable force in world golf. This is where the new generation of young talented golfers want to be – it’s almost where they have to be and there’s no turning back. What we’ve seen this year and in 2013 represents a huge statement about golf in China – for two years running we’re welcoming 40 of the world’s best 50 players to Shanghai and that is comparable with almost any other major tournament on the planet.
“Let’s look at the facts. When we first came to China in 2005 the tournament attracted 13 of the world’s top 50 golfers. By 2009 when we were awarded World Golf Championship status we had more than doubled this with 28 of the top 50 and now for the last two years we have attracted 40 of the world’s best 50 golfers to compete for the $8.5 million prize fund. When you consider that because of injury or unavoidable breaks from the game, we have number of absentees from this year’s field, that is quite an achievement and bodes well for the future when those players return in 2015. China has been on an incredible golfing journey and this year’s tournament represents another important milestone.”
WGC-HSBC Champions is the fourth and final World Golf Championship event of the year and takes place at the Sheshan International Golf Club in Shanghai. In the last ten years the tournament has earned the tag of ‘Asia’s Major’ and, with the exception of The Open Championship, is now the highest-ranked golf tournament in the world outside of the United States.
The field lives up to its billing with world number two Adam Scott, world number fourSergio Garcia, world number five Henrik Stenson, world number six, Justin Rose, 2014 Masters Champion, Bubba Watson, 2014 US Open winner, Martin Kaymer, and the only player to finish in the top-5 at all 2014 majors Rickie Fowler all lining up in Shanghai.
Proving the growing status of the tournament and underlining the quality of proven champions throughout the entire field the latest players to confirm include winner of the FedEx Cup, Billy Horschel, three time winner on the 2014 PGA Tour, Jimmy Walker, Japanese star and winner of the 2014 Memorial Tournament, Hideki Matsuyama, two-time 2014 PGA Tour winner Chris Kirk, US Ryder Cup star Jordan Spieth and European Ryder Cup heroes, Graeme McDowell and Jamie Donaldson.
Guy Kinnings, Global Head of Golf at IMG, the tournament promoters, added: “This is a fantastic field by any standard, in any part of the world, but it is particularly special to have a tournament with this calibre of field in China to mark the 10th anniversary. Everything is in place for another world-class WGC-HSBC Champions.”
Playing for a prize fund of $8.5 million, there is much at stake for the world’s best as they compete in the fourth and final World Golf Championships of 2014. A key part of the 2014 European Tour’s Final Series, the WGC-HSBC Champions is part of the PGA TOUR’s FedExCup schedule, with money earned counting as official money on the PGA TOUR. The winner also earns a three-year exemption on the PGA TOUR.
The WGC-HSBC Champions is one of four World Golf Championships sanctioned and organised by the operational committee of the International Federation of PGA Tours, which includes the Asian Tour, European Tour, Japan Golf Tour, PGA TOUR, PGA Tour of Australasia and Sunshine Tour. The other World Golf Championships include the WGC- Match Play, WGC-Cadillac Championship and the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
The following marquee players have won the coveted WGC-HSBC Champions title: David Howell, YE Yang, Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Phil Mickelson, Martin Kaymer, Ian Poulter and Dustin Johnson, who became the latest to join that impressive roll of honour in 2013.