New dawn for HSBC Champions

Victor Fraile ©The Power of Sport Images

Shenzen, CHINA: The International Federation of PGA Tours, HSBC Holdings plc, the China Golf Association and the Shanghai Administration of Sport made a joint announcement on Sunday that the HSBC Champions will become part of the PGA TOUR’s FedExCup schedule, with money earned counting as official money on the US-based 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. The event’s winner will earn a three-year exemption on the PGA TOUR, with the opportunity to join the organization if he is a non-member.

The total purse will also increase from US$7 million to US$8.5 million, bringing it in line with the other three World Golf Championships played in the United States. Considered some of the most prestigious and important events on golf’s calendar, the World Golf Championships were developed to bring the world’s best players together and have since 1999 delivered the highest-quality, most international fields in the sport.

HSBC will also extend its title sponsorship of the HSBC Champions for three additional years through 2015 with the event set to return to Shanghai permanently. The 2013 tournament scheduled for October 28 – November 3 will once again be played at the Sheshan International Golf Club in Shanghai, where it was staged for seven years (2005-2011).

Underscoring the importance of the event’s new era and the excitement surrounding the future of the HSBC Champions was the attendance of the following dignitaries for the announcement: PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem, European Tour chief executive George O’Grady, HSBC global head of sponsorship and events Giles Morgan, Shanghai Administration of Sports director Li Yuyi; China Golf Association executive vice president and secretary-general Zhang Xiaoning and Asian Tour executive chairman Kyi Hla Han.

“This is a genuine landmark moment for HSBC and its sponsorship of golf. As we approach our 10th year as a major international sponsor of this great game, it seems entirely fitting that we are making this highly significant announcement.

“This is not so much a renewal as a rebirth – it’s a new dawn for HSBC Champions and for Asian golf which is now right at the top table of world golf,” said Morgan.

“When we first came to China in 2005, our ambition was to create a world-class international golf tournament in an emerging market. Eight years on and the HSBC Champions, complete with full FedExCup points and an increased prize fund, is up there with the very best, and today’s announcement represents a major step forward for golf in China.

“As importantly, our involvement in golf at this elite level is underpinned by our continuing sponsorship of youth development and grassroots programmes, including the HSBC China Junior Open.

“As a global financial services organisation, we pride ourselves on opening up a world of opportunities for people and the HSBC Champions has proved to be the perfect stage for golf in Asia to come of age. We look forward to the next chapter in the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions story, and that chapter starts today,” he added.

Finchem said, “HSBC has made an incredible commitment to this event, the World Golf Championships as a whole and the development of golf in Asia on a global scale, and we’re excited that today’s announcement further elevates the HSBC Champions in a way that matches the prominence and prestige of the event’s title sponsor. Some of the world’s best players have won the HSBC Champions in its short but impressive history, and as an official PGA TOUR event and part of the FedExCup beginning in 2013, that trend will only be enhanced.”

The HSBC Champions is one of four World Golf Championships events sanctioned and organized 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 are the Accenture Match Play Championship, Cadillac Championship and the Bridgestone Invitational.

The HSBC Champions, which began in 2005 and was elevated to the elite stable of World Golf Championships events in 2009, has boasted an impressive, international list of winners since its inception.