HSBC to sponsor
World Match Play Event
HSBC, the world's second largest bank, is to sponsor the World Match
Play Championship at Wentworth Club, creating a first prize of £1million,
the richest in the history of European and American golf.
The ten year deal from 2003-2012, with tournament founders and organisers
International Management Group, includes a total annual prize fund of £2.3million.
To ensure its status as the world's premier match play championship,
qualification will be based on a new ranking system, the 'HSBC Major Championships
Ranking'. This will measure and rank players based on their performance
at the year's four Major Championships. The 12 qualifying players will
* The defending champion (Ernie Els in 2003).
* The world Number One
* The ten leading players from the HSBC Major Championships Ranking.
The HSBC World Match Play Championship also remains the world's only
match play event with all matches contested over 36 holes.
This year's inaugural HSBC World Match Play Championship will be held
on October 16-19 at Wentworth Club's world famous West Course, where the
40th anniversary of the event will be celebrated.
Sir John Bond, HSBC Group Chairman, said: Golf is one of the most
popular and fastest growing sports worldwide. This sponsorship is an excellent
fit with the geography of HSBC's business, and the lifestyles of our customers.
The game has enormous appeal in both the developed and emerging
markets HSBC serves. In the US, the world's largest golf market, there
are some 37 million players. Meanwhile, in the UK, nearly three out of
ten HSBC customers describe themselves as golf fans.
In developing markets, interest in golf is also booming. Asia is
already home to a third of the world's golfers, and in China the number
of golf courses has grown from just eight to more than 130 in a little
over ten years, with a further 60 courses under construction. Today, an
estimated one million Chinese people play golf.
We expect this sponsorship to give the HSBC brand excellent visibility
around the world. Over 210 million people followed last year's championship
at Wentworth Club; under HSBC colours and with a revitalised format, we
aim to make this one of golf's premier championships.
Andrew Hampel, IMG's Senior International Group Vice-President, added:
IMG welcome HSBC's commitment to the World Match Play Championship.
Since Arnold Palmer won the first trophy in 1964, the World Match Play
at Wentworth Club has become a special part of world golf.
HSBC's ten year sponsorship allows us to continue to build the
Championship and the first £1 million prize in European and US golf
reflects the event's stature as the most prestigious match play tournament
in the world.
Defending champion Ernie Els sent a special message of support to the
new HSBC World Match Play Championship, saying: I want to congratulate
HSBC for stepping in as new sponsors for the World Match Play, and for
upping the first prize money to £1 million.
It will be an unbelievable event and I can't wait to defend my
title at Wentworth Club later this year."
Arnold Palmer winner of the first Championship in 1964 when he defeated
England's Neil Coles, to win a first prize of £5000, said the Championship
had been a fantastic event and he was delighted that it now had a 10 year
sponsorship with HSBC to secure its continued success.
Julian Small the MD of Wentworth said how delighted they were that Wentworth
would continue to be the home of the World Matchplay and welcomed HSBC
as the new sponsors of the Championship.
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