HSBC extends flagship WGC event in China, purse to $9.5 million
03 Nov 2015 - 8:59
Shanghai: The flagship World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions will stay in China for the next five years with an increased prize fund of $9.5 million, officials said on Tuesday, making it the richest tournament outside the US and major championships.
In a slew of announcements at the HSBC Golf Business Forum in Shanghai, the bank also said it was extending its sponsorship of Asia's richest US LPGA event, the HSBC Women's Champions in Singapore, to 2020, as well as the European Tour's Abu Dhabi Golf Championship and its association with the British Open as the event's patron.
The move comes after an uncertain period for HSBC which was hit with huge penalties over money-laundering in Switzerland and foreign exchange manipulation in Britain, forcing the bank to set aside $1.3 billion to cover fines imposed by regulators.
But any fears that the 150-year-old bank's sports sponsorship portfolio, which also includes the Rugby Sevens World Series and junior golf development programmes in Britain, Hong Kong and China, would suffer as a result were firmly allayed by Tuesday's announcements.
The HSBC Champions has been a highlight of the Asian golfing calendar since it was founded in 2005, before joining the four-stop World Golf Championships series co-sanctioned by the US PGA, European and Asian Tours in 2009, and is sometimes dubbed "Asia's major".
This year's WGC-HSBC Champions begins on Thursday at Sheshan Golf Club in Shanghai, its home for all but one edition of the tournament.
World number two Jordan Spieth and third-ranked Rory McIlroy are among 41 of the world's top 50 taking part in an elite 78-man field competing for a prize pot of $8.5 million this week. The defending champion is fourth-ranked Bubba Watson.