WBC-HSBC Champions to head back to Shanghai
In a boost for golf in China and Asia, the WGC-HSBC Champions will become part of the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup schedule next season, with money earned counting on the PGA Tour.
The winner would earn a three-year exemption on the PGA Tour, tour commissioner Tim Finchem revealed, and prize money would increase from US$7 million to US$8.5 million, in line with the three other WGC events in the US.
The news was part of the bank's new three-year sponsorship deal announced yesterday, with the tournament will return to Shanghai from Mission Hills in Dongguan.
It was the long-held ambition of David Chu Shu-ho, the founder of Mission Hills, to bring a World Golf Championships event to China, but it is leaving after just one edition at the late Chu's resort.
"Shanghai is one of our most important cities in the whole group and our sponsorship strategy is to host flagship events in our major cities," said Giles Morgan, HSBC's global head of sponsorship.
"We're sponsors of the Hong Kong Sevens and that's a massive market but so is Shanghai.
"We've had a great experience here in Mission Hills but for the renewal it was terribly important that we went back to Shanghai.
The event will be held back-to-back with the BMW Masters from October 28 next year, also a Shanghai event.
George O'Grady, chief executive of the European Tour, added: "The Chus having been great supporters of the World Cup, our agreement was to give them a WGC [event] at least once.
"This tournament has been successful and it's been a great venue for the World Cup.
"But HSBC wants to be in the economic powerhouse that is Shanghai."
Mission Hills did not respond to a request for comment yesterday.
China Golf Association executive vice-president and secretary general Zhang Xiaoning said: "[The event] furthered the growth of the game of golf in China and Asia in the past few years.
"We hope it will continue to play an important role to help grow the game of golf and improve the competition level of China."