Sunday, 04 November 2012
(L to R) Helen Wong, Li Yuyi, Giles Morgan, Tim Finchem, Zhang Xiaoning and George O'Grady  (Getty Images)
(L to R) Helen Wong, Li Yuyi, Giles Morgan, Tim Finchem, Zhang Xiaoning and George O'Grady (Getty Images)

The stature and growth of golf in Asia was further confirmed today with the announcement by the International Federation of PGA Tours, HSBC, the China Golf Association and the Shanghai Administration of Sport that the HSBC Champions will become part of the PGA TOUR’s FedExCup schedule, with money earned counting as official money on the PGA TOUR, and the winner earning a three-year exemption on the PGA TOUR, with the opportunity to join the organization if he is a non-member.  The HSBC Champions will also award full FedExCup points, plus the 10 percent premium awarded by all World Golf Championships compared to a regular PGA TOUR event. 

The total purse will also increase from US$7 million to US$8.5 million.  These changes bring the HSBC Champions in line with the other three World Golf Championships played in the United States.  Considered some of the most prestigious and important events on golf’s calendar, the World Golf Championships were developed to bring the world’s best players together and have since 1999 delivered the highest-quality, most international fields in the sport.  With today’s announcement, HSBC was proud to announce a new era, extending its title sponsorship of the HSBC Champions for three additional years, through 2015.

Further, the HSBC Champions, which enjoyed a successful, one-year staging on the Olazabal Course at Mission Hills Golf Club Guangdong this week, will return to Shanghai permanently with an official signing ceremony taking place at HSBC’s Headquarters in Shanghai on November 5.  In 2013, the event will once again be played at the Sheshan International Golf Club in Shanghai, where it was staged for seven years (2005-2011).  The 2013 HSBC Champions is scheduled for Oct. 28-Nov. 3.

Underscoring the importance of the event’s new era and the excitement surrounding the future of the HSBC Champions was the attendance of the following dignitaries for the announcement: PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem; The European Tour Chief Executive George O’Grady CBE; HSBC Global Head of Sponsorship and Events Giles Morgan; Shanghai Administration of Sports Director Li Yuyi; China Golf Association Executive Vice President and Secretary General Zhang Xiaoning; and Asian Tour Executive Chairman Kyi Hla Han.

Morgan said, “This is a genuine landmark moment for HSBC and its sponsorship of golf. As we approach our 10th year as a major international sponsor of this great game, it seems entirely fitting that we are making this highly significant announcement.

“This is not so much a renewal as a rebirth – it’s a new dawn for HSBC Champions and for Asian golf which is now right at the top table of world golf.

“When we first came to China in 2005, our ambition was to create a world-class international golf tournament in an emerging market.  Eight years on and the HSBC Champions, complete with full FedExCup points and an increased prize fund, is up there with the very best, and today’s announcement represents a major step forward for golf in China.

“As importantly, our involvement in golf at this elite level is underpinned by our continuing sponsorship of youth development and grassroots programmes, including the HSBC China Junior Open.

“As a global financial services organisation, we pride ourselves on opening up a world of opportunities for people and the HSBC Champions has proved to be the perfect stage for golf in Asia to come of age. We look forward to the next chapter in the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions story, and that chapter starts today.”

Finchem said, “HSBC has made an incredible commitment to this event, the World Golf Championships as a whole and the development of golf in Asia on a global scale, and we’re excited that today’s announcement further elevates the HSBC Champions in a way that matches the prominence and prestige of the event’s title sponsor.  Some of the world’s best players have won the HSBC Champions in its short but impressive history, and as an official PGA TOUR event and part of the FedExCup beginning in 2013, that trend will only be enhanced.”

O’Grady said, “We welcome the announcement of HSBC’s continued support of the final World Golf Championships event of the year, which will further enhance the end of The European Tour season in the run-in to the DP World Tour Championship and the culmination of The Race to Dubai. HSBC has been an outstanding supporter of The European Tour over the past decade, and we thank them not only for their leadership in helping bring a first World Golf Championship to China, but also for their continued sponsorship of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship in January.”

Li said, “We’d like to express our thanks to HSBC for their continued support to Shanghai Sports. In the future, we will make joint efforts in developing HSBC Champions, such an outstanding and prestigious golf event, after its return to Shanghai next year. It will not only promote the transformation of Shanghai Sports, but also enhance the development of Shanghai as an international metropolis.”

Zhang said, “We welcome HSBC’s continued support of this mega event, the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions, and its return to Shanghai. HSBC Champions furthered the growth of the game of golf in China and Asia in the past few years. We hope the event will continue to play an important role to help grow the game of golf and improve the competition level of China.”

Han said, “On behalf of the Asian Tour, I would like to express our fullest appreciation to HSBC for its extended commitment to the game of golf at the highest level in Asia. The World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions continues to set the benchmark for professional golf Asia and around the world and being the only World Golf Championships event in Asia, its importance to the development of the game in our region is unparalleled.  We look forward to three more years of great success.”

Robbie Henchman, global co-managing director of IMG Golf, the tournament promoters, added, “Since we founded this tournament together with HSBC in 2005, we have watched it grow exponentially into Asia’s flagship event. We are very proud, together with our partners HSBC, the International Federation of PGA Tours and CGA, to play a part in this exciting new era for the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions.”

The HSBC Champions is one of four World Golf Championships events sanctioned and organized 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 are the Accenture Match Play Championship, Cadillac Championship and the Bridgestone Invitational.

The HSBC Champions, which began in 2005 and was elevated to the elite stable of World Golf Championships events in 2009, has boasted an impressive, international list of winners since its inception.  The following marquee players have won the coveted HSBC Champions title: England’s David Howell (2005); South Korea’s YE Yang (2006); USA’s Phil Mickelson (2007 and 2009); Spain’s Sergio Garcia (2008); Italy’s Francesco Molinari (2010); Germany’s Martin Kaymer (2011).

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

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