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Friday, 12 October 2012
Ernie Els with the Claret Jug   (Getty Images)
Ernie Els with the Claret Jug (Getty Images)

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Masters Tournament champion, Bubba Watson, and Open champion, Ernie Els, head the latest list of Major champions to enter the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions, from November 1-4 at the Mission Hills Guangdong, China, on the Olazabal Course.

The latest stars joining defending champion Martin Kaymer, winner of the 2010 US PGA Championship and four-time major winner, Phil Mickelson, include 2011 US PGA Champion, Keegan Bradley,  2010 US Open Champion, Graeme McDowell, 2010 Open Champion, Louis Oosthuizen and 1999 Open Champion, Paul Lawrie. 

First-time Major winner Watson will be making his debut at the WGC-HSBC Champions and is looking forward to visiting China for the first time. He said: “Winning my first Major at the Masters in April has made this an amazing year but I haven’t won since so I’d love to end my year with my first World Golf Championship win.

“Asian golf is definitely on the up and up and I am excited to go there and see it and experience it for myself. I love travelling, we are blessed as golfers to have the chance to travel all over the world and I can't wait to experience China and look forward to making new friends." 

South Africa’s Els is, in contrast to Watson, one of the most global golfing stars, plying his trade all around the world in front of adoring fans. His win at the Open marked his fourth Major title and 65th international win.

He enjoyed some time off last week while many of his closest competitors were battling it out at the Ryder Cup in Chicago. 

Els said:  “Winning my second Open at Lytham was obviously a very special moment in my career, so I guess you could say I’ve had a bit of a spring in my step ever since. I’m definitely enjoying my golf and, as always, I’m excited about the prospect of returning to Mission Hills for the WGC – HSBC Champions.

“I feel very comfortable in Shenzhen, having enjoyed site visits while working on our golf course design project, and I’ve played well here and obviously come very close to winning. It’s always a fantastic week. Hopefully this is the year when I get to add this great title to my CV.”

Giles Morgan, Global Head of Sponsorship and Events for HSBC, said” “As a Patron of the Open Championship, HSBC was privileged to witness Ernie’s return to Major winning form at Lytham. He has had some fantastic performances in past WGC-HSBC Champions so will definitely be one of the players to watch at this year’s tournament.

“This is a wonderful array of Major champions and we are looking forward to welcoming Bubba Watson to his first WGC-HSBC Champions as I know the Chinese golf fans are looking forward to the opportunity to watch ‘Bubba golf’ up close. ”

World number three Luke Donald and the fourth-ranked Lee Westwood were amongst the early entries to the year’s final World Golf Championships announced last month.

The final World Golf Championships of 2012 will take place at Mission Hills for the first time after seven very successful editions at the Sheshan International Golf Club in Shanghai.

The WGC-HSBC Champions boasts a prize fund of US$$7 million and 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-Accenture Match Play Championship, WGC-Cadillac Championship and the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

The following marquee players have won the coveted WGC-HSBC Champions title;  David Howell, Y.E. Yang, Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari and Phil Mickelson – the only one to have won the title twice – and as referenced above, Germany’s Martin Kaymer became the latest to join that impressive roll of honour in 2011.

For ticket information, regular field updates, the full qualifying criteria and more information, please visit www.hsbcgolf.com.

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