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Phil Mickelson unveils Old Tom Morris Cup
October 12, 2010

Two-time HSBC Champions winner Phil Mickelson has helped to unveil the new trophy for the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions: The Old Tom Morris Cup.

The new cup and name are in keeping with the other three World Golf Championships events, which also boast similarly-designed Wedgwood trophies named after golfing legends. The World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship awards The Walter Hagen Cup to the winner, the World Golf Championships-CA Championship offers The Gene Sarazen Cup, and the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational winner holds aloft The Gary Player Cup.

"I am really fond of the original trophy, which can happen when you win something more than once," says Mickelson, who lifted the 2007 HSBC Champions and then became the first winner of the tournament following its elevation to World Golf Championships status in 2009.

"But the new trophy has even greater worldwide significance. First, it is instantly recognisable as one of the WGC prizes, second, it carries the name of one of the legends of golf. Third, and perhaps most importantly, it is proof of just how fast the game of golf in China and Asia has evolved and how significant that growth is to the world of golf," the four-time Major champion adds.

In choosing Old Tom Morris the world's local bank has found a figure recognisable to the established golf world. HSBC chose one of the famous names in the history of Scottish golf because the pioneering work "Old" Tom Morris did in the 1800s to shape the game of golf is symbolic of the pioneering work being done in Chinese golf now.

"Old Tom represents the birth of the game of golf. Asia, China and the WGC-HSBC Champions in varying ways represent the future of the sport and, you could argue, will in time be looked at as being part of one of the most dramatic shifts for golf since Old Tom's era," says Giles Morgan, HSBC Group Head of Sponsorship.

"The WGC-HSBC Champions could be described as the nucleus which has shaped the way tournament golf in Asia is evolving and developing on the world stage, in the same way the Old Tom Morris helped shape and define the sport of golf" he adds.

Padraig Harrington, Ireland's three-time Major winner, describes Old Tom as one of the bedrocks on which the sport was built.

"He's the heritage of the game! He was one of the first Open Champions and won it four times; it adds a lot to an event when it has heritage and I know it takes a long time to build heritage, but this helps. It's a trophy that anyone would be proud to lift and they'll be proud of the association with Old Tom Morris and the history that goes with that. It'll help the players feel even more about the event and it'll make it that little bit more special."

Morris was greenkeeper and golf professional on the Old Course, St Andrews, Scotland; a four-time winner of The Open Championship and ranked among the top links course designers of the 19th Century. Among the 75 courses he designed or remodelled are some of Scotland's world-famous courses, including Carnoustie, Muirfield and Royal Dornoch.

"You're talking about one of the legends of the game. You talk about Tom Morris you're talking about Prestwick and St Andrews and you're talking about a game steeped in history; the legends of the game are hugely important to us!" exclaimed 2010 US Open winner Graeme McDowell.

"Guys like him shaped the game we play now. How different would it be if you didn't have Old Tom Morris, Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods? How big is the game now? A TV spectacle, a global game, you just look at the milestones of the game and he's one of them."

In one way or another, "Old" Tom influenced almost every aspect of the sport. He helped to set up the first (British) Open Championship in 1860 and competed in every Open until 1896. Various authorities and experts have attributed everything from standardising the number of holes to 18, the size of the golf hole, the appearance of bunkers and several fundamentals of greenkeeping to the influence of "Old" Tom.

"Old" Tom Morris, who was born in St. Andrews in 1821 and died there in 1908, is remembered as a true pioneer and exponent of golf.

In recognition of his service, the R&A has hung his portrait on permanent display in its clubhouse, while the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America 's most prestigious honour is the Old Tom Morris Award.








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