China grabs World Golf Championship event

THE WORLD golf map is changing with China to host one of the elite World Golf Championship events this year.

World number one Tiger Woods is already confirmed as a starter for the only WGC event not to be staged in the US.

The International Federation of PGA Tours announced this week the HSBC Champions tournament in Shanghai in November is being elevated to the WGC series.

Woods will play in Shanghai the week before he heads to Melbourne for the Australian Masters.

Prize money for the tournament at Sheshan International Golf Club will be bumped up by $US2 million ($A2.82 million) to $US7 million ($A9.87 million) and there will be a revised qualifying criteria.

The World Golf Championship is an elite series sanctioned by the International Federation of PGA Tours and has been running since 1999.

The move to include China comes with the WGC long criticised for being largely limited to venues in the US where all three of this year’s other events are.

“This is one of the most significant steps ever taken in the globalisation of golf, and one of the most logical,” PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem said in a statement.

International fields for the WGC events are selected using the official world rankings and the money lists for the individual tours, which include the PGA Tour, European Tour, Asian Tour, Australasian Tour and Japan Tour.

The World Golf Championships in 2009 include the Accenture Match Play Championships at Arizona, the CA Championships at Doral, Florida, and the Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, Ohio in August.

The decision has been greeted with unanimous approval by the golfing fraternity.

Tiger Woods was quoted as saying: “I played in the HSBC Champions in 2005 and 2006 and I am looking forward to returning to Shanghai this November. It is an event that symbolizes the amazing progress of golf in Asia and its new World Golf Championships status underlines how firmly China has established its place on the global golf calendar. I enjoy playing around the world when possible, and having a WGC event in China is very important to the global growth of the game.”

Leave a Reply