The International Federation of PGA Tours has announced that OMEGA has further enhanced its involvement in golf with the signing of an agreement to become title sponsor of the Mission Hills World Cup.
The World Cup is the oldest global golf team event in the world inviting two man teams from as many as 28 nations to play; it is hardly surprising that it has been labelled “The Olympics of Golf”, a title of huge significance in today’s China.
The 12 year contract, concluded at The European Tour’s headquarters at Wentworth, will see Mission Hills Golf Club, China, host the Omega Mission Hills World Cup through to the year 2018. The event, although sanctioned by the International Federation of PGA Tours, will not fall under the umbrella of the World Golf Championships.
OMEGA’s involvement in golf includes world class tournaments such as the Omega European Masters in Switzerland on The European Tour international schedule, and the link-up with Mission Hills will signify a return to Asia where the company had been active with the Asian Tour for many years and is currently the title sponsor of the China Tour. Golf is an integral part of OMEGA’s sport strategy which is based on its unique role as Official Timekeeper at 23 Olympic Games, including Beijing in 2008.
The 2007 Omega Mission Hills World Cup will be staged from 22-25 November 2007 on the Olazà¡bal Course at Mission Hills, the 7,400-yard lay-out which was designed by double Masters Champion Josà© Maria Olazà¡bal.
The defending champions will be Germany who claimed their second World Cup crown in Barbados last December when Bernhard Langer and Marcel Siem defeated Scotland’s Colin Montgomerie and Marc Warren at the first hole of a sudden-death play-off.
First played in 1953, John Jay Hopkins, a noted Canadian industrialist and scholar, had a dream that the game of golf could promote goodwill between nations all over the world, and thus founded the International Golf Association and with it a tournament called the Canada Cup. The tournament toured the world and in 1967, to reflect its international image, it became the World Cup, which has since been won by all the great names of the game.
In 1995, the World Cup visited China, hosted by Mission Hills, and thereby introduced the game of professional golf into the world’s largest country. In 2000, the World Cup became sanctioned by the International Federation of PGA Tours. The Omega Mission Hills World Cup will continue in the tradition of the World Cup as the only world team stroke play event with a prize purse of US$5 million.
Mr Stephen Urquhart, president of OMEGA, stated, “OMEGA has an unparalleled position in China and recently celebrated 111 years presence in this significant market. Our association is reinforced by our unique role as Official Timekeeper at the forthcoming Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008. The Omega Mission Hills World Cup seals our commitment to the world of golf and represents an exciting opportunity to further develop our activities in this sport. It is with immense pleasure that we look forward to working with Mission Hills and the Federation to maximise the enormous potential of this tournament over the next 12 years, and make it into the world’s premier truly international golfing event.”
Dr David Chu, group chairman, Mission Hills Group, said, “Being the largest golf facility in the world, we are proud that the Omega Mission Hills World Cup will be held here for the next 12 years. We are making history in the fine chronicle of golf. China has a population of 1.4 billion with 400 million youths. The country is having not only the fastest growth in global golf development, but also the largest consumer market in the world. I believe hosting the World Cup of golf in China together with partners like OMEGA, the IGA, the International Federation of PGA Tours under The European Tour’s guidance and the CGA, will go beyond just influencing sports and commercial development, it will create an impact so big it will truly turn golf into a global sport!”
George O’Grady, chief executive of The European Tour and on behalf of the International Federation of PGA Tours, said, “We are delighted to announce OMEGA as title sponsor of the Omega Mission Hills World Cup and take great pride in concluding the agreement here in our headquarters at Wentworth. We already have an excellent relationship with OMEGA through their sponsorship of the Omega European Masters on The European Tour International Schedule and this will be considerably enhanced through their link-up with Mission Hills who have been at the forefront of promoting golf in China since they first staged the World Cup in 1995.”
John Linen, chairman of the International Golf Association, said, “The International Golf Association is truly pleased with the agreement reached with the International Federation of PGA Tours, OMEGA and Mission Hills Golf Club. This agreement will provide a solid footing for the IGA to continue its original purpose of achieving goodwill between nations through the game of golf. Also, holding the event at Mission Hills will give the IGA a unique opportunity to participate in the development and growth of the game in China, the world’s most populous country. We look forward to this long-term relationship.”
Mr Zhang Xiao Ning, executive vice president and secretary general of the China Golf Association, said, “From the Beijing Olympics to the World Cup of golf, OMEGA has been a strategic partner for Chinese sports and especially in golf. I believe the Omega Mission Hills World Cup will become the pinnacle partnership between OMEGA and Chinese sports.”
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