HSBC To Sponsor Asia's Richest Tournament In Shanghai In November
The event, which carries a prize fund of $5,000,000 and first prize of $833,300, will be co-sanctioned by The European Tour, the Asian Tour, the PGA Tour of Australasia, the Sunshine Tour and the China Golf Association, making the inaugural HSBC Champions tournament a truly international ‘championship of champions’.
China, one of the fastest growing golf markets in the world, has already hosted five tournaments on The 2005 European Tour International Schedule, and the HSBC Champions event will mark the start of The 2006 European Tour International Schedule.
This exciting new tournament will bring together title winners across the aforementioned four Tours, along with many of the world’s leading players through the qualification criteria, including the top 50 on the Official World Golf Ranking as at September 12, 2005. HSBC has also made provision to invite eight Chinese players in a commitment to involve local talent and support the development of golf in that country.
World Number Two and 2005 Masters Champion, Tiger Woods, has already affirmed that he will make his competitive debut in China as one of the field of up to 100 players who will compete over 72 holes of stroke play. HSBC have also announced that all those players not among the 60 and ties who make the 36 hole cut will receive prize money.
The full criteria for qualification is as follows:
- The Top 50 players on the Official World Golf Ranking as at 12September 2005.
- Winners of all officially sanctioned, Order of Merit/Money List Tournaments on The European Tour, the Asian Tour, PGA Tour of Australasia, Sunshine Tour between November 8, 2004 and November 7, 2005.
- Eight sponsor’s invitations.
- Eight Chinese players selected by the China Golf Association.
- Any player, not otherwise exempt , who is in:
~ The top 20 of The 2005 Final European Tour Order of Merit.
~ The top 5 of the 2004/2005 Final Sunshine Tour Order of Merit.
~ The top 5 of the Final PGA Tour of Australasia Money List.
~ The top 5 of the Asian Tour Money List as at November 7 2005.
- The leading money winner on the 2005 PGA Tour of Australasia’s Von Nida Tour Final Order of Merit.
- The leading money winner on the 2005 Sunshine Tour’s Winter Tour Final Order of Merit.
- The leading money winner on the Final 2005 European Challenge Tour Rankings.
Commenting on his decision to play, Tiger Woods said: “I can’t wait to come to the HSBC Champions tournament in China. The best players in the world teeing up head to head, it is going to be a blast for all of us as competitors, but it is also going to be a very entertaining event for all of the people of China.”
HSBC Group Chairman Sir John Bond said: “It is fitting that HSBC, a company founded in Hong Kong and Shanghai 140 years ago, should now play an important part in the development of golf in China. We are honoured by this opportunity and would like to thank the China Golf Association and the Municipal Government for their support.
“HSBC has been privileged to enjoy a continuous presence in the city of Shanghai since 1865, but we are not investing in golf simply because of our history here. In China, we see a country whose economic progress in the last 25 years has been nothing short of astonishing.
By bringing the world’s best golfers to play alongside winners across Asia and rising stars in China, we hope the HSBC Champions tournament will further increase the appeal of golf and inspire young golfers across the region.
“Golf absolutely mirrors HSBC’s character and how we like to do business. We are therefore proud of this new, increased commitment to the game. Internationalism, inclusiveness and integrity are as much characteristics of the sport as they are of HSBC and we are proud of our association.”
George O’Grady, Executive Director of The European Tour, welcomed the new championship, saying: “On behalf of the four partnering tours - The European Tour, the Asian Tour, the PGA Tour of Australasia and the Sunshine Tour of South Africa - I would like to commend HSBC for their vision in the bringing the champions of world golf together.
“The HSBC Champions will be the first tournament on The 2006 European Tour International schedule and we are looking forward to a tremendously exciting event at the superb Sheshan International Golf Course in Shanghai.
“I would also like to take this opportunity of thanking the China Golf Association for the very warm welcome they have extended to all of us in visiting their country next November and we also congratulate the City of Shanghai on hosting the event.”
Bob Kain, President, IMG, added: “It is a very exciting time for golf in China and IMG is thrilled to be a part of developing such an innovative new event. The China Golf Association, The European Tour, the Asian Tour, the PGA Tour of Australasia and the Sunshine Tour have all worked extremely hard together to create this great opportunity for their players.
“IMG also welcomes and applauds HSBC’s commitment to the HSBC Champions tournament which complements the bank’s support of the men’s World Match Play Championship in England and the Women’s World Match Play Championship in the USA. We are confident that this new event with its unique qualification criteria will become one of the most exciting and popular tournaments on all four of the sanctioning tours’ schedules.”
Commenting on the selection of Shanghai Sheshan International Golf Club as the venue for the inaugural, Cheung Yau Choi, President of the Club, said: “I would like to thank HSBC and IMG for bringing the tournament to Shanghai. We are honoured and delighted to be hosting a world-class tournament, the HSBC Champions, here at Sheshan International Golf Club.”
“Since our official opening last year, we have paid special attention to our golf course maintenance and development. We hope to offer the best conditions for the players in November. We look forward to welcoming everyone to Sheshan International Golf Club.”
With the creation of the HSBC Champions tournament in China, HSBC’s support for world golf now spans Asia, Europe and the USA. In Europe, the bank sponsors the HSBC World Match Play Championship offering the highest first prize in the history of golf at the Wentworth Club in the UK. In July this year, HSBC will sponsor the only individual match play championship in women’s golf, in New Jersey, USA.
Partnered by tournament organisers IMG, HSBC will be title sponsor of the tournament for an initial period of five years. The HSBC Champions tournament will be broadcast in China on CCTV and internationally by European Tour productions.
Among those already qualified are Major Champions Woods and South African Ernie Els, who last October completed a record sixth victory in the HSBC World Match Play Championship at Wentworth Club. The list of qualifiers, as at June 12, 2005, reads:
European Tour International Schedule: Stephen Dodd, Miguel Angel Jiménez, Charl Schwartzel, Tim Clark, Nick Dougherty, Craig Parry, Niclas Fasth, Thongchai Jaidee, David Toms, Ernie Els, Paul Casey, Thaworn Wirachant, Paul Broadhurst, Tiger Woods, Robert-Jan Derksen, Peter Hanson, Adam Scott, Ernie Els, Steve Webster, Thomas Björn, Angel Cabrera and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano.
Asian Tour: Jyoti Randhawa, Kiyoshi Miyazato, Scott Strange, Richard Lee, KJ Choi, Wang Ter-Chang, Adam Le Vesconte, Choi Sang-Ho.
PGA Tour of Australasia: Peter Lonard, Richard Green, Steven Bowditch, Peter O’Malley.
Sunshine Tour: Simon Wakefield, Richard Sterne, Warren Abery, Mark Cayeux.
For further information on the HSBC Champions tournament, visit http://www.hsbcgolf.com/
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