McIlroy eyes the changing of guards

Mon 15 Sep 2014

McIlroy eyes the changing of guards

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Shanghai, Sept 15: World Number one and winner of the 2014 Open Championship and 2014 US PGA Championship Rory McIlroy today confirmed his participation in the WGC-HSBC Champions at the Sheshan International Golf Club (Shanghai, 6-9 November 2014) as he aims to complete a changing of the guard on golf’s global leaderboard.
Joining McIlroy in the hope of winning the final World Golf Championships event of the year are the world’s top five players on the Official World Ranking: Adam Scott (2), Henrik Stenson (3), Sergio Garcia (4) and Justin Rose (5).
Bubba Watson, winner of the 2014 Masters, Martin Kaymer, winner of the 2014 US Open and 2014 PLAYERS Championship, and Rickie Fowler, who finished in the top five of all four of the year’s Majors, will also be part of the stellar field.
McIlroy explained, “I have had an amazing summer and I want to keep the momentum going into the final tournaments of the year. “Having won my first World Golf Championship at Akron in August, I am hoping I can add a second at the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai. I’ve never finished outside the top six so I know the Sheshan course suits my game and I have a great chance if I keep playing well.”
The record-breaking Northern Irishman continued, “I look forward to returning to Shanghai every year and love everything HSBC do to make the event feel like ‘Asia’s Major’ as well as the unbelievable support we all get from the Chinese fans.”
This year, the WGC–HSBC Champions will celebrate its 10th anniversary and a decade of unprecedented golf development in China.
With Asia becoming ever more important in world golf, a recent analysis of how the makeup of the top 100 players has changed over the last few decades also shows a change in the guard as younger players make their mark.
McIlroy, the third youngest player to win four Major titles, is leading a new era of twenty-something golf Champions who hail from all over the globe.
In the last 20 years, the average age of the top 100 golfers has reduced from approximately 35 to 32 years of age. In 1994, there were only two players under 25 in the top 100 (Phil Mickelson and Robert Allenby). Now there are 10, not including McIlroy and Fowler, who both turned 25 this year.
The analysis also highlights the increasing globalisation of the game. When the Official World Ranking began the week before the Masters in 1986, only 15 nationalities were represented among the top 200 ranked players.
Today, that number has more than doubled to 32 countries with the number of Asian players rising from one to six and South American players from one to five.
HSBC Global Head of Sponsorship & Events Giles Morgan said, “Rory has had an incredible season and we are delighted he will be joining us, along with this star-studded line-up to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the WGC-HSBC Champions.  We have seen such a change in the golfing landscape since our first event at Sheshan in 2005 and we feel extremely privileged to have been a part of the growth of golf in Asia.”
Guy Kinnings, Global Head of Golf, IMG added, “From the outset, HSBC has created something very special at Sheshan and the tournament has consistently attracted the world’s best players. Confirming the participation of the world’s top five and all of the year’s Major winners is the perfect way to launch the 10th anniversary celebration.”
China Golf Association Executive Vice President and Secretary General Zhang Xiaoning said, “We are very happy to be sharing this special 10 year anniversary celebration with HSBC. We have made a lot of progress growing the game of golf in China over the last decade and this tournament is a great example of how far we have come. China is the only country outside the USA to currently be hosting a one of the four prestigious World Golf Championship events and we would also like to thank HSBC for all their work in building the WGC-HSBC Champions into such a world-class tournament.”
Playing for a prize fund of $8.5 million, there is much at stake for the world’s best as they compete in the fourth and final World Golf Championships of 2014. A key part of the 2014 European Tour’s Final Series, the WGC-HSBC Champions is part of the PGA TOUR’s FedExCup schedule, with money earned counting as official money on the PGA TOUR. The winner earns a three-year exemption on the PGA TOUR.
The WGC-HSBC Champions is one of four World Golf Championships sanctioned and organised 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 include the WGC- Match Play, WGC-Cadillac Championship and the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
The following marquee players have won the coveted WGC-HSBC Champions title: David Howell, Y.E. Yang, Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Phil Mickelson, Martin Kaymer, Ian Poulter and Dustin Johnson, who became the latest to join that impressive roll of honour in 2013.
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Notes to editors:
 
About HBSC:
HSBC provides a comprehensive range of financial services to around 58 million customers through four global businesses; Global Retail Banking and Wealth Management, Global Commercial Banking, Global Banking and Markets and Global Private Banking.
 
HSBC Golf Sponsorships
HSBC’s global commitment to golf encompasses all levels of the game, from grassroots to elite. HSBC is a Patron of The Open Championship and this partnership with The Royal & Ancient creates a centre of gravity in a global golf portfolio that spans HSBC's key markets.  In Asia, HSBC has spearheaded the arrival of world-class golf events, with its flagship WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai and HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore. The WGC-HSBC Champions is renowned as ‘Asia’s Major’ and was once described by 14-time Major winner and former World Number 1 Tiger Woods as “The crowning jewel of all of Asian golf.”
HSBC has been co-title sponsor of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship since 2010 and the event has quickly become one of the biggest events on the European PGA Tour calendar.  As golf returns to the Olympic Games for Rio 2016, HSBC is also sponsoring the Brasil Champions event on the Web.com Tour.
However, underpinning those blue-riband events is a longer-term goal to create a legacy from HSBC’s global tournaments through its sponsorship of youth development and grassroots programmes.  As well as committing to the professional game, HSBC has a longer-term goal to create the legacy through sponsorship of youth development and grassroots programmes around the world. In China, HSBC supports the HSBC China Junior Golf Program – a sustainable long-term structure and framework upon which the future of Chinese golf is being built. This includes the HSBC-sponsored China National Junior Team, the HSBC China Junior Open and the HSBC National Junior Golf Championship: a year-long series of tournaments designed to give China’s elite junior golfers the competitive platform they need to develop their game. In the UK HSBC is sponsor of HSBC Golf Roots – The Golf Foundation's national development programme which promotes the sport in schools, helps youngsters into clubs, and uses golf to promote important life skills such as honesty and respect.
For more details on HSBC's golf activities, visit www.hsbcgolf.com
 
The HSBC Group
HSBC Holdings plc, the parent company of the HSBC Group, is headquartered in London. The Group serves customers worldwide from over 6,300 offices in 75 countries and territories in Europe, Asia, North and Latin America, and the Middle East and North Africa. With assets of US$2,758bn at 31 March 2014, HSBC is one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organisations.
About IMG
IMG is a global leader in sports, fashion and media operating in more than 30 countries around the world. IMG’s businesses include Events & Media, College, Golf, Tennis, Performance and IMG Academy, Fashion, Models, Clients, Consulting, Licensing, Joint Ventures, and creative management agency Art + Commerce. In 2014, IMG was acquired by WME, the world’s leading entertainment and media agency. Together, the companies offer an unparalleled client roster; world-class partnerships with sponsors, brands and broadcasters; and marquee assets across entertainment, events and fashion.
 
About World Golf Championships/International Federation of PGA Tours
The International Federation of PGA Tours was formed in 1996 by golf’s five world governing bodies – the European Tour, Japan Golf Tour Organization, PGA TOUR, PGA Tour of Australasia and Sunshine Tour (South Africa) with the purpose of providing a forum for the world’s professional golf organizations to discuss issues of mutual importance and, together, develop and promote the game of golf on a global basis.  The Asian Tour joined the Federation in November 1999.  As part of its mission, the Federation initiated the World Golf Championships in 1999.  The Federation was expanded in June 2009 and now includes the Asian Tour, European Tour, Japan Golf Tour, PGA TOUR, PGA Tour of Australasia, Sunshine Tour, China Golf Association, Korea Professional Golf Tour Corp., Professional Golf Tour of India, LPGA Tour, Ladies European Tour, Australian Ladies Professional Golf Tour, Japan LPGA, Korean LPGA and the Ladies Asian Golf Tour.