Shanghai, China: World number one Jordan Spieth, world number two Rory McIlroy and defending champion and world number four Bubba Watson are the first players to book their places at this year’s WGC-HSBC Champions.
Spieth is looking to lift his first World Golf Championship [WGC] trophy while McIlroy, whose season was stalled by an ankle injury, is aiming will to reclaim the number one spot he held until last month for a total of 93 weeks.
Watson is hoping to repeat his spectacular victory of last year when he holed his bunker shot for an eagle to make the play-off and then snared a 25-foot birdie putt at the first extra hole to defeat South Africa’s Tim Clark.
Watson knows he has a tough task to defend his title from November 5-8 at the Sheshan International Golf Club, sculpted by Nelson and Haworth Golf Course Architects, an Associate Business Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation.
He said: “I am looking forward to defending my WGC-HSBC Champions title. I am so proud to have won such a prestigious event and would love to be able to win it again. It is a special tournament at the forefront of golf in Asia and it has the potential to inspire a generation of golfers here. It’s an exciting time for golf in the region and I think HSBC has done a fantastic job in opening up the world of golf and helping to establish China on the world map of golf.”
Spieth, who won April’s Masters Tournament and the US Open in June, said: “It’s been a great year and I can’t wait to compete again at the World Golf Championship in China. Playing internationally is extremely important to me and I’m looking forward to returning to this great event.”
McIlroy, already a four-time Major winner at 26 years of age, added: “I can’t wait to get back to Sheshan for the final WGC of the season. To win the biggest tournament in Asia would be a huge end of season boost and give me great momentum going into next year. I always look forward to the warm welcome I receive in China. The energy, excitement and enthusiasm from the crowd is like nowhere else and, as always, the field is going to be very, very tough.”
Giles Morgan, Global Head of Sponsorship & Events at HSBC, said: “We are now into the second decade of our flagship event in Asia and it really is an incredible time for golf in the region. If you needed a reminder of just how far golf in China has come in the last 10 years, then look no further than the amazing scenes on the 18th green as last year’s WGC-HSBC Champions drew to an astonishing climax.”
Singapore: Michael Braidwood, one of the most respected educators on club management in the EMEA region, will be the presenter for the third instalment of the Asian Golf Industry Federation’s Sustainability Series.