EUROPE’S RYDER CUP STARS TARGET WORLD GOLF CHAMPIONSHIPS-HSBC CHAMPIONS TITLE
Shanghai: Luke Donald, Padraig Harrington and Rory McIlroy have confirmed they will be joining their 2010 Ryder Cup team mates, Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell, Ian Poulter and Martin Kaymer at the 2010 World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions at the Sheshan International Golf Club, Shanghai, from November 4-7, 2010.
Paul Casey, who narrowly missed qualifying for the 2010 European Ryder Cup team, has also confirmed his entry where he will be looking to end his season with an emphatic win at the fourth and final World Golf Championships of the season.
With world number one Tiger Woods and third-ranked and defending champion Phil Mickelson also confirmed along with 2010 British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen, 2010 and WGC-Bridgestone Invitational Champion Hunter Mahan, the WGC-HSBC Champions looks set to build upon last year’s success.
Elevated to the illustrious World Golf Championships tier of events for the first time, it attracted the strongest field ever seen in Asia with seven of the world’s top 10 and 20 of the world’s top 30 golfers making it the second-highest ranked field anywhere in the world outside the United States in 2009.
World number eight Donald, who played a crucial part in the European team’s victory by winning three out of four points, is looking for his first World Golf Championships win to cap off a fantastic year.
He said: “After an amazing week at the Ryder Cup, I am really looking forward to the rest of the season and especially playing in the WGC-HSBC Champions having missed out last year. I really liked the Sheshan Course and having finished tied 14th in 2006, I know that I can do well on the course. I think it is great that the World Golf Championships have made it part of their series as Asia plays an ever more important part of global golf.”
Three-time Major champion Harrington has enjoyed a confidence boost from Europe’s Ryder Cup success and is thrilled to have qualified. He explained: “It feels great to be part of the winning Ryder Cup team and I hope it will be a turning point in my season as I look towards the rest of the year. I really want to get back in the winner’s circle soon and would love it to be at the prestigious WGC-HSBC Champions. I have played at Sheshan every year since the inaugural event in 2005 and it is a course I like. I really enjoy visiting Shanghai and love the enthusiasm of the Chinese fans, so look forward to returning every year. I’ve had some pretty good finishes there but against a field of such quality, I know I will need four great rounds to win my first World Golf Championships event."
World number nine McIroy, fresh from his successful Ryder Cup debut, added: “Last year was not only the first time the HSBC Champions had World Golf Championships status but also my first time playing at Sheshan International Golf Club. It was every inch a World Golf Championships event, from the world class field assembled, to the immaculately prepared course and, as always, HSBC did a fantastic job in looking after the players. For all that, I am most looking forward to playing in front of the fantastic Chinese fans as they created a unique atmosphere which really helped me deliver my final round of 63 which was one of my best of the year.”
World number seven Casey will be looking to build on his recent great form on the US PGA Tour and win the coveted ‘Champion of Champions’ title and a share of the US$7million prize fund. Having missed much of last season through injury, he said: ”I was so disappointed last year when I had to pull out of the WGC-HSBC Champions after the third round last year. After missing out on so much of last season with my rib injury, I was determined to be ready to compete at Sheshan as it is one of my favourite events of the year and thoroughly deserving of its World Golf Championships status. This year I am injury-free and raring to get to Shanghai and hope that I can add my name to the impressive winner’s roster.”
Robbie Henchman, Senior Vice President of the tournament promoters IMG concluded, “With only one month to go, our preparations are going very well for this year’s tournament and it is very pleasing to have so many world class players already confirmed in the field.”