McIlroy to spearhead seven-city challenge

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 09 August, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 09 August, 2011, 12:00am


US Open champion Rory McIlroy will lead a quartet of golf stars playing in seven Chinese cities in seven days in a promotional tournament.

October's Shui On Land China Golf Challenge will also feature Ernie Els, the former world No1 and three-time major champion, Ryder Cup hero Ian Poulter and Chinese No 1 Liang Wenchong.

The four players will play only 18 holes over the week, competing on just two or three holes at each of the eight courses in the made-for-television competition from October 10-16.

The event tees off in Shanghai then heads to Dalian and Beijing, with play in the capital taking place over two courses.

It then flies inland to Chongqing before heading south through Haikou to Dongguan and Macau.

McIlroy, 22, has visited Shanghai and Guangdong province on previous visits to the mainland, and will be returning to Hong Kong in November for the HK Open.

'I'm always keen for a challenge, but this is different to any golf tournament I've competed in.

'For me, this will be as much about exploring China as competing, and I've got some good travel companions in Ian, Ernie and Liang,' he said. 'Hopefully Liang can give us some local tips on the best food!'

He added: 'It's a frenetic schedule as we're flying six times in the middle five days. The only days we're not on a plane are the first and last days.

'But don't forget that we have to fly in and out of China before and after the event, so this will be a serious test of endurance.'

The itinerary features pro-ams, coaching clinics, entertainment and publicity events while the golfers will get the chance to sample each city's local cuisine and culture.

Vincent Lo, chairman of Shui On Land, said: 'As the tournament travels the country, we hope to show viewers around the world the golfing experience in modern China as well as the dynamism of Chinese cities.'