Stars gather for final WGC of the year

Tue 08 Oct 2013

Stars gather for final WGC of the year

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Shanghai, October 8: The strength and depth of the WGC-HSBC Champions field was underlined today as more of the world’s best golfers confirmed their participation.
American stars Keegan Bradley, Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson and Boo Weekley will join 2009 Champion Sergio Garcia, 2012 Open Champion Ernie Els and former World Number One Lee Westwood in trying to win the ‘Champion of Champions’ crown.
Leading the challenge from the next generation of golf stars will be US sensation 20 year old Jordan Spieth along with 20 year old winner of the 2013 BMW PGA Championship Matteo Manassero and young Japanese stars, Hideki Matsuyama and Ryo Ishikawa, as the event returns to the Sheshan International Golf Club, Shanghai from 31st October to 3rd November 2013.
The stellar 78-man field, which will include more than 40 of the world’s top 50 players, also includes 2013 US Open Champion Justin Rose, 2013 Open Champion, Phil Mickelson, 2013 USPGA Champion, Jason Dufner, world number six Rory McIlroy, defending Champion Ian Poulter and in-form world number four Henrik Stenson, world number eight and two-time winner on the PGA Tour in 2013, Brandt Snedeker, former world number one, Luke Donald and 2010 US Open Champion Graeme McDowell.
Keegan Bradley, winner of the 2012 WGC-Bridegstone Invitational and 2011 PGA Championship, is looking forward to returning to the Sheshan International Golf Club. He explained, “I really enjoyed my visit to Sheshan International Club in 2011 and loved exploring Shanghai as it is an amazing city. This tournament is a really big deal as it is the final World Golf Championships of the year and one we all want to win so I am hoping I have a really great week.”
Jordan Spieth has taken the PGA TOUR by storm in his first year as a professional, winning the 2013 John Deere Classic and finishing 7th place in the season long race for the FedEx Cup. He was chosen as a captains pick for the 2013 US Presidents Cup team and also earned himself Rookie of the Year honors after an incredible season that included nine top-10 finishes.
Spieth commented, “It has been an unbelievable year for me and I can’t wait to play in my first professional event in China. I’ve heard great things about the course and look forward to competing in my first World Golf Championship.”
Henrik Stenson, winner of the Tour Championship and the 2013 FedEx Cup, world number four and current leader of the Race to Dubai added, “I have had a fantastic few weeks and I am feeling great about my game as we head into the Final Series. There is still plenty to play for and I really would love to finish off the year with a win at the final World Golf Championships of the season. It is exciting to have put myself in position to win the Race to Dubai as well, and I hope I can capitalise on this opportunity.”
HSBC Global Head of Sponsorship and Events Giles Morgan said: “We are less than a month away from the start of the ninth edition of the WGC-HSBC Champions and I am delighted with how the field is shaping up. There is already an extremely strong contingent of US players committed and I believe this will be our strongest and most international field to date. Since we first came to China in 2005 we have seen Asian golf come of age but the speed of progress at all levels of the game has been amazing – the return of WGC-HSBC Champions to Shanghai feels like a defining moment. One of the reasons why the tournament has been such a resounding success is the support from the players and this year more than ever the strength and depth of the field makes it feel like ‘Asia’s Major’ has finally arrived.”
Guy Kinnings, Global Head of Golf, IMG, the promoters of the event added, “All our preparations are going extremely well ahead of the 2013 WGC-HSBC Champions. The recent enhancements to the tournament have been well-received by the players and our already world-class field clearly reflects this. HSBC’s commitment to the event has helped to make it both Asia’s flagship event and one of the leading golf tournaments on the global golf calendar and we are looking forward to a fantastic week of golf. “
Playing for an increased prize fund of $8.5 million in the recently elevated WGC-HSBC Champions, there will be more at stake than ever for the world’s best as they compete in the fourth and final World Golf Championships of 2013.
For the first time, the HSBC Champions will become part of the PGA TOUR’s FedExCup schedule, with money earned counting as official money on the PGA TOUR, and the winner earning a three-year exemption on the PGA TOUR.
The HSBC Champions will also award full FedExCup points, plus the 10 percent premium awarded by all World Golf Championships compared to a regular PGA TOUR event.  With these changes the HSBC Champions is now in line with the other three World Golf Championships played in the United States and is also a key part of the 2013 European Tour’s Final Series.
The WGC-HSBC Champions returns to Shanghai after taking place at Mission Hills last year after seven very successful editions at the Sheshan International Golf Club in Shanghai.
The WGC-HSBC Champions prize fund has increased to $8,500,000 from $7,000,000 and 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-Accenture Match Play Championship, WGC-Cadillac Championship and the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
The following marquee players have won the coveted WGC-HSBC Champions title;  David Howell, Asian Tour honorary member Y.E. Yang, Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari and Phil Mickelson – the only one to have won the title twice, Martin Kaymer and, as referenced above, Ian Poulter, who became the latest to join that impressive roll of honour in 2012.
Ends.
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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 sponsoring the Brasil Classic event on the Web.com Tour (April 2013).
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 around 6,600 offices in over 80 countries and territories in Europe, the Asia-Pacific region, North and Latin America, and the Middle East and North Africa. With assets of US$2,681bn at 31 March 2013, the HSBC Group is one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organisations.
About IMG
IMG Worldwide is a global sports, fashion and media business, with 3,500 employees operating in more than 30 countries around the globe. IMG’s areas of expertise are diverse and wide ranging. IMG College is the leader in collegiate marketing, licensing and media rights. IMG’s Joint Ventures, IMG Reliance, IMX, IMG-CCTV and IMG Dogus in the emerging markets of India, Brazil, China and Turkey, offer the company significant long-term growth opportunities.  IMG Media is the world’s largest independent producer and distributor of sports programming. IMG Events and Federations owns and manages some of the most sought-after events and includes long-standing associations with the world’s most important sports organizations, leagues and federations. IMG Fashion owns and operates fashion events around the world and IMG Models represents the world’s top models and leading designers. IMG Art+Commerce represents the most influential photographers, art directors and stylists.
For the past 50 years IMG Clients has been the global leader in talent representation, including over 1,000 elite athletes, coaches, industry executives and prestigious sports organizations across the sports, entertainment, fashion and media industries. IMG Tennis and IMG Golf manages the careers of the biggest stars on the court and the green.  IMG Performance is aimed at developing sports performance research, products and services that have grown out of the division’s world-leading integrated academic and athletic training institution, IMG Academy.  IMG Consulting connects many of the world’s leading brands with consumers through access to unique sports and entertainment properties. IMG Licensing is considered one of the premier independent licensing companies in the sports, entertainment and media world. More information is available at www.imgworld.com.  Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
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.