Fifteen of the World’s Top 20 touch down in China for the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions in Shanghai
You’ve heard of ‘flying up the rankings’ but surely this is a step too far?
Not for long-term golf sponsor HSBC, who crafted the mid-air spectacular to launch this year’s World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions event in Shanghai.
World Number 1 Dustin Johnson, Swedish superstar and last year’s runner up Henrik Stenson and local hero Haotong Li made sure that ‘Asia’s Major’ got off to flying start as they were suspended in mid-air far above the iconic Shanghai skyline and the watching gaze of defending champion and World Number 4 Hideki Matsuyama who was keeping his feet firmly on the ground.
The action unfurled on the roof of The Peninsula Hotel on Shanghai’s famous riverfront Bund and was directed by Beijing-born contemporary artist Li Wei who specialises in gravity-defying imagery with the use of metal wires and scaffolding.
Following the daredevil launch, the ‘Superhero’ theme this tournament has become known for will play out once again as fifteen of the world’s Top 20 players gather in China for HSBC’s flagship men’s golf tournament to be staged at Sheshan International Golf Club (October 26-29).
The four players lined up as follows: Dustin “The Heat” Johnson, Hideki “The Mountain” Matsuyama, Henrik “The Machine” Stenson and Haotong “The Force” Li.
World Number 1 Dustin Johnson said: “I’ve heard it said I am on the rise, but this is pretty extreme! I have great memories of winning here in 2013 and as always in Shanghai, it’s going to be very competitive, but also a lot of fun.”
Defending champion Hideki Matsuyama agrees: “This tournament was the catalyst for the best twelve months of my career so far and to defend my title would really cap it all off but the WGC-HSBC Champions field just seems to get better and better so I know I’ve got a battle on my hands.”
An HSBC spokesperson said: “Golf has entered a new era of opportunity where the game is embracing innovation in technology and format and where anything is possible. You only need to look at the Majors where eight of the last nine champions have been first-time Major winners – as our long-running campaign says, it’s Anyone’s Game.
“We know golf is changing and we want our WGC-HSBC Champions flagship event here in Shanghai to be a catalyst for that change, as it was for the growth of the game in Asia. We hope that with this kind of promotion where golf is encouraged to go beyond the norm, we will do our part to help open the game up to new audiences. As demonstrated at our launch event today, there is a new type of golf, a more exciting golf– golf without limits.
“This year we have assembled 33 of the Top 50 golfers in the world, and 15 of the Top 20 and it is this strength of field that inspired our superhero theme which is designed to celebrate the incredible talent of players descending on Shanghai to do battle at Sheshan International Golf Club. We’ve come a long way since we first brought HSBC Champions to China in 2005 but on the back of a successful Olympic return and a wave of innovation and technology in the sport, there are even bigger opportunities ahead of us.”
Last year’s runner up Henrik Stenson added: “I always like to get amongst the birdies and eagles but never quite like this before. HSBC Champions is a tournament that I look forward to every year. After finishing tied second here last year, I am hoping to go one better this year and add this fantastic trophy to the collection and end the year on a high. I can’t wait to get started!”
CGA-HSBC China Junior Golf Program graduate and fan favourite Li Haotong said:
“HSBC Champions was the tournament that really helped propel me onto the world stage in 2015. I learned a lot that week, playing alongside Jordan Spieth over the weekend and being in the mix coming down the stretch. As a result, HSBC Champions is a tournament I really look forward to playing and I hope I can give the fans something to cheer about on Sunday afternoon.”
HSBC Champions boasts the toughest qualification criteria of all the World Golf Championships, with the majority of the field qualifying only by winning a key tournament on their Tours or by being ranked in the world’s top 50.
HSBC provides a comprehensive range of financial services to customers through four global businesses; Global Retail Banking and Wealth Management, Global Commercial Banking, Global Banking and Markets and Global Private Banking.
The HSBC Group
HSBC Holdings plc, the parent company of the HSBC Group, is headquartered in London. The Group serves customers worldwide from around 3,900 offices in 67 countries and territories in Europe, Asia, North and Latin America, and the Middle East and North Africa. With assets of US$2,492bn at 30 June 2017, HSBC is one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organisations.
About HSBC Golf Sponsorships
HSBC’s global commitment to golf encompasses all levels of the game, from grassroots to elite.
HSBC is a proud patron of The Open Championship and this partnership with The R&A creates a centre of gravity to a global golf portfolio that spans HSBC’s key markets. In Asia, HSBC has spearheaded the arrival of world class golf events with its flagship WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai and HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore. The $9.75m WGC-HSBC Champions is renowned as ‘Asia’s Major’ and has made such an impact, that Rory McIlroy describes China as “an unstoppable force in world golf.” HSBC has been co-title sponsor of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship since 2010 and the event has quickly become one of the biggest events on the European PGA Tour.
However, underpinning those international flagship events is a longer-term ambition to create a legacy from HSBC’s global tournaments through its sponsorship of youth development and grassroots programmes. In China, HSBC supports the HSBC China Junior Golf Program, a sustainable long-term structure and framework upon which the future of Chinese golf is being built. In Hong Kong, HSBC supports the HSBC Hong Kong Junior Golf Programme, a structured pathway for children to try the sport for the first time, develop their skills and, for those talented enough, the chance to represent Hong Kong on the international stage. In the UK, HSBC is sponsor of HSBC Golf Roots – The Golf Foundation’s national development programme which promotes the sport in schools, helps youngsters into clubs and uses golf to promote important life skills.
For more details on HSBC’s golf activities, visit www.hsbcgolf.com