Shenzhen, China: Cheng Jin‘s appearance in this week’s Masters Tournament is further evidence of China ‘as the unstoppable force in world golf’.
As 18-year-old Cheng prepared to tee-off at Augusta National, HSBC reaffirmed its commitment to golf in China by extending its sponsorship of the China Golf Association [CGA]-HSBC China Junior Golf Programme for another five years (2016-2020).
Now in its 10th year, the joint initiative – which is the only officially sanctioned junior golf programme in China – has earned a reputation as a veritable production line for the brightest young talent in China.
Cheng follows in the footsteps of fellow CGA-HSBC China Junior Golf Programme graduate Guan Tianlang who, at the age of 14, took the golfing world by storm in 2013 when he became the youngest golfer to make the cut at a Major at the Masters.
The CGA-HSBC Junior Golf Programme was launched in 2007 and over the past decade the programme has put golf clubs in the hands of more than 80,000 children and provided a platform for young, elite talent.
Key features of the programme include the HSBC National Junior Golf Championship, the HSBC China Junior Golf Open, the HSBC Junior Golf Winter/Summer Camp and the HSBC School Golf Training Programme.
Supervised by a development committee that has representatives from HSBC, the China Golf Association [CGA], Asian Golf Industry Federation Executive Member IMG and The R&A, it has been a driving force behind the growth of golf in China.
In addition to Cheng and Guan, other notable graduates include Ye Wo-cheng who became the youngest player in European Tour history when he lined up at the 2013 Volvo China Open, Andy Zhang, who qualified for the US Open at the age of 14, and 20-year-old Li Haotong who performed well at the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions event in Shanghai last year.
Other success stories of the programme include Lin Xiyu, one of the first participants and now a seed on the LPGA Tour hoping to represent China at Rio 2016, and Dou Zecheng who is now on the men’s pro circuit.
Giles Morgan, Global Head of Sponsorship and Events at HSBC, said: “It is important to us to extend our commitment to Chinese golf and today’s announcement complements our recent five-year renewal of our flagship World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions.
“As a long-standing sponsor of golf, HSBC is committed to growing the game at every level. The CGA-HSBC Junior Golf Programme is a development initiative we started a decade ago alongside our sponsorship of the World Golf Championships–HSBC Champions.
“Seeing so many youngsters graduate through the ranks to take their place on the world stage is really special and demonstrates exactly why HSBC supports golf and why our junior initiatives are so important. Cheng Jin’s presence in the Masters this week is further evidence of China as the unstoppable force in world golf.”
Jin Hongwen, Deputy Minister of number one department of sports from Multi-ball Games Administrative Centre of the General Administration of Sport of China, said: “This is a great example of co-operation between the CGA and HSBC, and with the support of their partners, they have achieved a lot in 10 years.
“More than 80,000 juniors have been introduced to golf through the HSBC School Golf Training Programme in around 100 middle and primary schools and the winter/summer camps.
“An elite force of young golfers has developed through high level tournaments such as the HSBC National Junior Golf Championship, HSBC National Junior Golf Team Championship and HSBC China Junior Golf Open. We have also established the China National Junior Golf Team which has progressed through intensive training, tournaments in China/abroad and pro tournaments. The three type of programmes above constitute the CGA-HSBC China Junior Golf Programme, a system of promotion, selection and improvement.
“We believe more juniors from the programme will play in the Olympics. Golf in China will be strong if the juniors are strong.”
David Liao, Head and Chief Executive of HSBC China, said: “It takes 10 years to nurture a tree, but 100 years to cultivate a talent. The programme is becoming the best platform for the juniors in China to prosper and showing the world the immense potential in Chinese golf. We hope that the Chinese players from the programme can play in the Olympics one day and make history for Chinese golf.”