Reigning Champion Xander Schauffele defends his title against a stellar field of the world’s best players next week at the Sheshan International Golf Club, Shanghai, from October 31 to November 3.
Seven past champions, including Justin Rose, Francesco Molinari, Hideki Matsuyama, Bubba Watson, Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter and Phil Mickelson, all have their sights set on another win in Shanghai. The field comprises 15 Major Champions boasting 25 Major trophies between them. Rory McIlroy, Shane Lowry, Jordan Spieth, Patrick Reed, Adam Scott, Danny Willett, Louis Oosthuizen, Henrik Stenson, Keegan Bradley and Lucas Glover all have their eyes on ‘Asia’s Major’. This illustrious 78-man field has won over 600 international tournaments and 22 World Golf Championships titles.
Since the inaugural HSBC Champions in 2005, this tournament has grown into the biggest and most established event in Asia becoming one of the four prestigious World Golf Championship events in 2009. Home favourite Li Haotong heads the seven-strong Chinese challenge this year, along with Zhang Xinjun, Wu Ashun, Yuan Yechun, Dou Zecheng, Bai Zhengkai and Liang Wenchong. In 2005, the average Official World Golf Ranking of the Chinese players in the field was 1200 with the highest ranked player No.229 while in 2019, the average ranking of the China’s ever improving golf stars is 419 with the best ranked player at No.55.
Debuting in 2007, as part of HSBC’s holistic approach to sponsorship, was the CGA-HSBC Junior programme, which was set up to help grow the game of golf in China and capitalise off the positive effects of hosting such an elite golf event. The progress of golf in China during this time is remarkable. In 2006 there were only 406 registered junior golfers in China, while in 2019, the figure stands at over 100,000 registered junior golfers with overall junior participation around 700,000.
Over the past 12 years, the CGA-HSBC China Junior Golf Programme has put golf clubs in the hands of well over 100,000 children through junior golf tournaments, golf training camps and school initiatives. This grassroots approach has also benefited the elite level of Chinese golf today with four of the seven Chinese players in the field coming through the CGA-HSBC Junior programme: Li Haotong, Yuan Yechun, Dou Zecheng and Bai Zhengkai.
Mickelson, a two time winner of the HSBC Champions, commented: “It is fantastic to see how this event has grown over the years into one of the most prestigious events in the world. Even more pleasing is seeing these amazing participation figures in black and white. We talk about playing around the world because we want to grow the game but, in the heat of the battle of a huge event like the WGC-HSBC Champions, it can be difficult to step back and admire the bigger picture.”
He continued, “I feel very proud to have been able to play a small part in growing the game in China and, with every visit, I take the time to admire and appreciate the obvious development in terms of golfers and golfing opportunities. I congratulate both the CGA and HSBC for ensuring the grassroots structure was in place to support and capitalise on all the benefits of hosting a World Golf Championships. I hope to play some inspiring golf next week as I try to claim my third title at Sheshan.”
Jonathan Castleman, HSBC’s Global Head of Brand Partnerships, said: “Once again the line-up for WGC-HSBC Champions is truly global and has outstanding strength and depth. This year’s tournament offers an exciting blend of Major winners, established stars, home grown talent and an emerging breed of fearless young competitors. From our list of past winners, clearly the players view WGC-HSBC Champions as a genuine major moment. The stars of the modern game will descend into Shanghai to perform at their very best in front of a growing community of Chinese fans and aspiring junior golfers.”
Fans can take advantage of a special ticket promotion this month offering selected tickets at discounts of up to 25% off ending October 27. Juniors aged 18 years and under can enter for free when accompanied by a ticketed adult with additional discounts also available for students and families.
For more details on the WGC-HSBC Champions and all ticket information, please visit https://www.hsbcgolf.com/mens or follow the official WeChat Mini Program: HSBCChampions