Volvo China Open attracts its finest field

12/18/2013 12:00:00 AM
Henrik Stenson  (Getty Images)
Henrik Stenson (Getty Images)

The 20th Volvo China Open has been confirmed as a prime target for the first man ever to win both the Race To Dubai and the FedEx Cup in the same season, Henrik Stenson.

His appearance is sure to attract a strong entry following the 37 year-old Swedish star’s remarkable season which has seen him rise to third spot in the Official World Rankings. During the last six months, he has been arguably the best player in the world, and he will face strong competition from the likes of current USPGA champion Jason Dufner and the charismatic Ian Poulter.

Since becoming the first western brand to engage with golf in China via the first Volvo China Open in 1995, Volvo’s relationship with this very important market has gone from strength to strength. This is the country’s national open, and in keeping with the ‘open’ principle of sharing the championship across the nation, this prestigious tournament will be staged for the first time at the stunning Genzon Golf Club in Southern China from April 24th-27th, next year. This beautiful club is the perfect venue to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the championship and is one which, like Volvo, is very committed to developing Chinese golf.

This slot on the European Tour schedule is attractively placed, coming just two weeks after the first Major of the season, the Masters. According to Per Ericsson, President of Volvo Event Management, “We are delighted that the importance of this great event is being reflected by the presence of Henrik Stenson, Jason Dufner and Ian Poulter. To have three players within the top 15 in the world at this early stage points towards the best field ever. This feels very fitting for our big anniversary.”

This is the 20th staging of the country’s longest-running professional golf tournament and a very strong field will challenge defending champion Brett Rumford who himself had an exceptional year, achieving back-to-back Tour victories. Stenson climbed in the rankings during the year and is keen to go even higher. “I’ve had some great victories this year, but it is always a thrill to win something for the first time and I would love to add the Volvo China Open to my collection. I come from Gothenburg in Sweden so I feel quite a link with Volvo and it would be great to get a Volvo title on my CV.”

36 year-old Dufner is known for his laid-back manner and has made occasional excursions onto the European Tour already. This will be the first time the current USPGA champion has competed in the Volvo China Open and he is already looking forward to the challenge. "I'm excited to be playing in the Volvo China Open for the first time next season. I know the tournament at the beautiful Genzon Golf Club will be a great test of skill with many of the world's best golfers competing, and I look forward to returning to China where golf continues to increase in popularity and grow. I feel privileged to be assisting in fostering this great growth with the sponsors, Volvo."

Ryder Cup star Ian Poulter enjoys a competitive relationship with Stenson and will be keen to get the upper hand in April. According to the Englishman, "It's great to be playing in the Volvo China Open again, I've always enjoyed the support I get from the crowds over there. I look forward to seeing my good friend and rival, Henrik Stenson there. It is always great fun to compete with him!" 

Yue Chuan-jiang, Director of Culture, Sports and Tourism Administration of Shenzhen Municipality, is delighted to be hosting such an important event in the area. “Shenzhen is an area where golf is very popular, so it will be perfect for all our keen amateurs to see some of the best players in the world. And from a business and tourism perspective, we are delighted that the world will get to see some of the great things we have to offer. This association with the Volvo China Open is extremely important for us and we look forward to working together on a very successful event.”

The host venue, Genzon Golf Club, is itself very committed to the development of Chinese golf. During today’s press conference the club announced a great motivation for home-grown golfers playing in the event. As General Manager, Allen Fei explains, “We have decided to double the prize money for any Chinese player who finishes within the top five at the Volvo China Open. We are also offering Chinese golfers the opportunity to stay here and practise before this great event. We hope this will be a real incentive for them to perform their best.”
Not only does the Volvo China Open feature the highest number of Chinese golfers for any professional international event in the world, but a real feature of Chinese golf is the nation’s incredible crop of rising young talent. The leading home-grown player in this year’s event was amateur Dou Ze-cheng, and remarkably he has already qualified again for 2014, this time via the Volvo China Junior Match Play Championship which he won in October.

As usual, there will also be four qualifying events for golfers who are not otherwise exempt, three for Chinese nationals and one International qualifier for players from overseas. These will be played from February to April, and will attract hundreds of entries from golfers keen to win a place.

The tournament is run in co-operation with the China Golf Association whose Vice President, Wang Yan-mei, says of the association with Volvo, “Twenty years is a long time, and together with Volvo we have come a very long way. We are delighted that the Volvo China Open continues to grow and be such an important event attracting some of the finest players in the world as well as such great home-grown golfing talent.”

More players will be announced in the New Year as the 20th Volvo China Open gears up to welcoming many big names to its superb 2014 host venue, Genzon Golf Club.

The Volvo China Open takes place from April 24th-27th at the Genzon Golf Club, Shenzhen, Southern China. This will be Volvo’s 82nd tournament on the European Tour. The prize fund of RMB 20 million (approximately USD 3.3 m) includes a winner’s cheque of RMB 3.3 million (approximately USD 550,000). Volvo is organising the event together with the China Golf Association and it is co-sanctioned by the European Tour and OneAsia.

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