World's top golfers gather in Shanghai for World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions
Updated: 2015-11-04 16:43
Bubba Watson, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler and Henrik Stenson at 2015 WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai, November 3, 2015. [Photo provided for chinadaily.com.cn]
GOLF'S BRIGHTEST STARS DRUM IN A NEW ERA AS HSBC AGREES ADDITIONAL FIVE- YEAR SPONSORSHIP OF ASIA'S MAJOR
Four of the world's top golfers today performed a traditional Chinese lion dance to celebrate the launch of this year's World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions, Nov 5-8, and HSBC's additional five year commitment to the championships.
Current champion Bubba Watson, together with World No 2 Jordan Spieth, World No 5 Rickie Fowler and World No 7 Henrik Stenson joined the opening ceremony at the Peninsula Hotel, with a view of Shanghai's landmark - The Bund.
The players marked the start of the tournament, which is known as 'Asia's Major', by beating drums for a lion dance, a traditional Chinese symbol of good luck.
For the third year running, the showdown at the Sheshan International Golf Club has attracted over 40 of the world's top 50 players. The sponsor HSBC has renewed its commitment to supporting golf in China by agreeing a five-year extension to its sponsorship of World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions.
World No 2 Jordan Spieth said, "This is great news for China's golf lovers and I can't wait to take on the course at Sheshan. Golf's prosperity in Asia, the tournament's success and the increasing number of young golf talents all show the promising future of golf in China."
Defending champion Bubba Watson added, "It's incredible to see the development of the game in Asia in the last 10 years. We can feel its increasing popularity among the public. My victory here last year was a huge moment for me and I can't wait to defend my title."
Giles Morgan, Global Head of Sponsorship and Events at HSBC, announced the sponsorship extension on stage at the 2015 Golf Business Forum, in Shanghai. He said, "We have restated our commitment to China's golf industry by agreeing a sponsorship extension for another five years. Over the last 10 years, our flagship tournament has been a driving force for the development of golf in Asia and with golf returning to the Olympics at Rio in 2016, we feel this is an important tournament.
"In addition to the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions extension, we are also delighted to announce sponsorship extension for our other major flagship golf events, including HSBC Women's Champions and the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship. Earlier this year we also renewed our agreement to support the Open Championship in the US. All these measures show our commitment to supporting golf development."
"Here in Shanghai, we once again have a world class field of golf's young stars. It will be another thrilling week."
The stars include former World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions winners Dustin Johnson and Martin Kaymer, World Number 3 Rory McIlroy and top 20 players Louis Oosthuizen, Sergio Garcia and Adam Scott.
The HSBC tournament boasts the toughest qualification criteria among all the World Golf Championships as the majority of players have to qualify by winning a key event during the year or by ranking in the world's top 50 players.