As the Volvo China Open prepares to welcome many of the world’s best players to Topwin Golf and Country Club for the 24th staging of the nation’s flagship golf tournament, Volvo’s Sven De Smet has predicted an even brighter future for the 20 million CNY event.
Chairman of the Volvo China Open Board, De Smet believes the recent move to be a tri-sanctioned tournament – plus the introduction of Mitime Golf as co-promoter with Volvo – can only be a major boost to the event.
“China and the Asia are key business markets for the Volvo companies,” he said. “We are therefore excited to see the Asian Tour again tri-sanctioning the Volvo China Open along with The European Tour and the China Golf Association.
“Together we will enhance our player field and secure even higher world ranking points for the Volvo China Open. With the Asian Tour’s media coverage, we are confident that bigger audiences across greater China and Asia will be able to follow our tournament.”
To be staged at the Topwin Golf and Country Club in Beijing for the third consecutive year from April 26-29, the Volvo China Open will be the 24th staging of the tournament and takes to 137 the total number of titles sponsored in men’s professional golf by Volvo. It will also be the company’s 87th sponsored tournament on The European Tour alone.
“Since Volvo started sponsoring golf in 1987, we have staged 86 European Tour events alone, while our commitment to golf in China is unparalleled,” said De Smet.
“We are delighted to be staying in Beijing at what is a truly wonderful venue close to the Great Wall of China – arguably the nation’s greatest landmark – and we look forward to working again with the Topwin team this year.”
While the Volvo China Open is Volvo’s ultimate flagship tournament, it is only one part of an in-depth golfing sponsorship strategy with the brand also staging the Volvo Word Golf Challenge for amateurs featuring around 600 events in more than 30 countries around the globe.
“In addition, since 2005, along with the China Golf Association, we have provided different qualifying paths to players of all levels for the Volvo China Open and 12 players qualify for the event every year,” added De Smet. “This year, we have had qualifiers at Guangzhou Nansha Golf Club, Fujian Ocean West International Golf Club and Kunming Jialize Sports Club and we thanks them for their support and cooperation.”
Such qualifiers allow up-and-coming international and domestic players the opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the best in the world and already confirmed for the 2018 Volvo China Open are global golfing greats such as defending champion Alexander Levy, Race to Dubai leader Shubhankar Sharma, Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat and six-time European Tour winner Joost Luiten.
Also, among the big guns heading for Topwin Golf and Country Club is China’s number one Li Haotong, the Volvo China Open champion in 2016 and the winner of the 2018 Dubai Desert Classic. For China’s ambitious young stars of tomorrow, there is no bigger star to look up to than the former Volvo China Junior Match Play Championship winner.
“Volvo has supported junior golf in China for 13 years starting with the Volvo China Junior Champions in 2005 – which was renamed and reformatted to the Volvo China Junior Match Championship in 2012,” said De Smet.
“We held our Volvo China Open Junior Match Play at Shenzhou Peninsula in the end of 2017 and we glad to see a new junior champion star Liu Zehao who will take his place in the forthcoming Volvo China Open.”
With less than two weeks to go until the event itself, De Smet believes the stage is set for a wonderful sporting occasion.
“For all of us in Volvo, this is a very special time of the year. It’s a time when we get to welcome the best players not only from China but also from around the world for what is one of the greatest occasions on the Asian sporting calendar,” he said.
“Our thanks go to our partners at the China Golf Association, Rolex, the Asian Tour and European Tours and our new co-promoter Mitime, who are partnering us in all organisational and promotional activities for the tournament. These partnerships can only further strengthen our ability to build the Volvo China Open as one of the key sporting events in China and take the event to an even higher level.”