The Open Champion Francesco Molinari and four-time Major winner Rory McIlroy join World Number Two Dustin Johnson, 2018 U.S. Open and US PGA Champion Brooks Koepka, and 2018 Masters Tournament winner Patrick Reed as the latest stars to confirm their participation in the WGC-HSBC Champions at Sheshan International Golf Club, Shanghai, on October 25 - 28, 2018.
Newly crowned World Number One and defending champion Justin Rose will also be joined by local hero Li Haotong, in what will be a star-studded field and the strongest gathered in Asia this year as the world’s best compete for an increased prize fund of US $10 million.
Johnson and Molinari are both former winners of the WGC-HSBC Champions in 2013 and 2010 respectively and Johnson and Koepka notably finished tied second behind Rose at last year’s tournament.
Italy’s first Major winner, 2018 Open Champion Molinari, said: “Playing in Shanghai is very important to me. It was such a huge moment in my career when I won there in 2010. It gave me the confidence to know that I can deliver on the big occasions against the world’s best fields when I get myself in contention. It is amazing to be returning to Sheshan, not only as a past champion which always feels good, but also as the reigning Open Champion.”
Johnson commented: “I really enjoy playing in front of the Chinese crowds, as you can sense their enthusiasm for the tournament. Having won there a few years ago, it always feels special to return. I was very close to winning there again last year, so it would be great to head into the Christmas break after winning another World Golf Championship title against such an awesome field.”
Fresh from his US PGA Championship win last month, man of the moment Koepka added: “This will be my third time playing in the WGC-HSBC Champions and I am definitely hoping I can improve on last year’s second place finish. It has been an amazing couple of months but hopefully I am not done yet and can keep this momentum going to win my first World Golf Championships title in Shanghai.”
Reed, the 2018 Masters Champion, who is currently in second place behind Molinari in the Race To Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex, said: “I always feel so lucky that we are able to travel the world and compete at some of the most amazing courses and cities in the world. I look forward to competing against the best players in the world in Shanghai. The Sheshan International Golf Club always offers a good test and I hope to play solid and have a chance to win a second World Golf Championship of my career.”
Leanne Cutts, Group Head of Marketing at HSBC, said of the announcement: “In the thirteen years since we first brought WGC-HSBC Champions to Shanghai, golf in Asia has experienced an incredible transformation. We are delighted to once again welcome the best of the best in world golf to ‘Asia’s Major’, where they will be cheered on by a Chinese golf audience that has grown dramatically in that time.
“HSBC has always been where the growth is, and we remain committed to working in partnership with the WGC to fulfil the potential of golf in the region. Continuing to attract the biggest players in the world to inspire the next generation of players and fans is a big part of that. With a field full of Major winners, top-ten ranked players and home-grown talents, WGC-HSBC Champions remains an unmissable date on the global golfing calendar.”
As well as hosting the strongest player field in Asia, organisers have planned significant enhancements to every aspect of the spectator experience for this year’s event including adding virtual reality technology to the new Lakeside area boasting a spectator viewing platform with premium sightlines of the 2nd and 9th greens. Ticket holders will also have the opportunity to get autographs and take pictures with the world’s best players through complimentary entry at the Pro Am played on 24th October. With so much on offer, fans will be looking to take advantage of the event’s early bird offer which concludes at the end of September.
As part of an on-going initiative to grow the game of golf in China, juniors aged 18 years and under enter for free when accompanied by a ticketed adult. Additional discounts are also available for students and families to ensure the event becomes more accessible to fans. For more details on the WGC-HSBC Champions and all ticket information, please visit www.hsbcgolf.com/mens or follow the official WeChat account: HSBCChampions