Johnnie Walker, the world’s leading Scotch whisky brand, today held an official ceremony on the Great Wall of China to announce the start of the 2005 Johnnie Walker Classic in Beijing this week and announce a significant increase to its long-term involvement in golf.
In addition to the Johnnie Walker Classic, Asia Pacific’s premier golf event, which takes place this week in Beijing, the brand will sponsor the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles, Scotland, previously known as the Diageo Championship on the European Tour.
The tournament remains within the Diageo family, however, because the Johnnie Walker brand is owned by Diageo plc, which is also the proud owner of the Gleneagles Hotel.
Colin Montgomerie, who is in Beijing to play in the Johnnie Walker Classic, has accepted the invitation to become the chairman of the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles.
The symbolic ceremony, held at China’s famous Great Wall, one of the most widely recognized architectural features in the world, featured Korea’s K J Choi, Sergio Garcia of Spain and China’s number one player Zhang Lian-wei alongside Montgomerie whilst performances by Chinese drummers and a Scottish bagpiper provided the perfect backdrop for the commencement of the 2005 Johnnie Walker Classic at Beijing’s Pine Valley Golf Resort & Country Club from 21 to 24 April.
Ben Anderson, global brand director for Johnnie Walker said, “The rebranding of the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles is a logical and exciting next step for the Johnnie Walker brand. We are excited about the potential to build strong bonds with the game of golf in our spiritual home, Scotland.”
Johnnie Walker also announced that the Johnnie Walker Classic, Asia’s richest and most prestigious golf tournament, would be held in Perth, Western Australia in 2006 and 2009.
Ben Anderson said, “This is a significant partnership between Johnnie Walker and the Western Australian Government to secure the return to Perth of Asia Pacific’s premier golf tournament and is a reflection of the success and popularity the tournament enjoyed in Perth in 2002 and 2003. While we will continue to be a touring event with a different location every year, we warmly welcome the prospect of returning to Perth.”
But the focus this week is fairly and squarely on Beijing, where the 2005 Johnnie Walker Classic is being held, hosted in mainland China for the first time in the tournament’s 14-year history.
This week, the strongest field of players ever to compete in the People’s Republic of China will battle it out for £1.25m in prize money in a tough field bursting with international stars including Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, Sergio Garcia, Adam Scott, Miguel Angel Jimà©nez, Thomas Bjorn, Choi, Montgomerie, Luke Donald and Paul Casey, all vying for a first prize of £208,330.
The Johnnie Walker Classic is jointly sanctioned by the European, Asian and Australasian Tours and in 2005 by the China Golf Association. The tournament is jointly owned and proudly presented by Johnnie Walker and IMG. Johnnie Walker is the world’s leading deluxe Scotch whisky. IMG is the world’s premier sports and lifestyle management and marketing firm.
All four days action from Pine Valley will be broadcast live on CCTV5 in China, and in major markets around the world including the USA, UK and Europe, Japan, Australia and South Africa.
More information is available on www.johnniewalkerclassic.com.