Five of the world’s leading golfers today joined performers from a renowned Chinese opera company to celebrate the return of “Asia’s Major” to Shanghai.
Three reigning Major champions were amongst the quintet who recreated a traditional returning heroes’ scene with performers from the Shanghai Jingju Company on a rooftop overlooking The Bund, Shanghai’s historic riverfront.
Major champions Phil Mickelson (The Open Championship), Justin Rose (US Open) and Jason Dufner (USPGA Championship) were joined by defending HSBC Champion Ian Poulter and World Number Six Rory McIlroy for the official launch of this week’s WGC-HSBC Champions tournament (October 31 – November 3) on the roof of The Peninsula Hotel, Shanghai.
Following a one year hiatus at Mission Hills, the recently upgraded WGC-HSBC Champions this week returns to its spiritual home in Shanghai and to celebrate the occasion the five players were presented with ceremonial cloaks and traditional weapons such as swords, spears and halberds during the rooftop performance.
World Number Three Phil Mickelson said: “The WGC-HSBC Champions is recognised around the world as one of golf’s top events and I think the recent changes only underline that fact and it is certainly one of my favourite World Golf Championship events. I’ve won twice at the Sheshan International Golf Club so it is a course I feel excited to return to. I am always made to feel so welcome by the Chinese golf fans that I can’t wait to try to win my third title.”
More than 40 of the world’s top 50 players will line up for the $8.5 million showpiece at the Sheshan International Golf Club in what is the highest quality field of golfers ever assembled in Asia.
Defending champion Ian Poulter added: “It is going to be a tall order to defend my title this year against such a strong field. Justin, Phil and Jason won the three most recent Majors and are obviously the in-form guys of the moment. I love playing in China and really feed off the enthusiasm and encouragement I get from the fans there so whatever happens, I know it will be a great week.”
Image: HSBC/Getty Images