Artistic Flair Displayed at HSBC Women's Champions
Five of the world’s top ten players joined VIPs at the iconic Raffles Hotel today to officially launch the HSBC Women’s Champions 2010 in true Singapore fashion.
The highlight of the morning was when reigning champion, Jiyai Shin was joined in the Palm Garden by 2008 Champion Lorena Ochoa, U.S. star Cristie Kerr, winner of the season opener in Thailand, Ai Miyazato, and HSBC Women’s Champions first-timer Michelle Wie, as they completed a specially commissioned piece of batik artwork to signify the launch of the tournament.
Batik painting is a wax-resist form of painting using dye on a silk canvas. It traces back to the 12th century and was originally practiced as a form of meditation by female courtiers in central Java. It is a very common art form in the region and Sarkasi Said (who pens his work as Tzee) is one of the most prominent artists in the field and created the painting especially in celebration of the HSBC Women’s Champions 2010 in Singapore. The motifs of batik are of flora, fauna which are rich in symbolic association and variety. The painting completed by the players today incorporates Singapore’s national flower- the Vanda Miss Joaquim orchid – with the event name and HSBC’s vibrant red as the colour theme. Each player completed a section of the canvas before signing their names which will be waxed over and preserved.
Joining the players for the press conference were Mr Guy Harvey-Samuel, CEO HSBC Singapore, Mr Giles Morgan, HSBC Group Head of Sponsorship, Mr Robbie Henchman, Senior Vice President IMG and newly appointed LPGA Commissioner Mr Mike Whan.
Morgan is looking forward to another successful event in Singapore saying, “The HSBC Women’s Champions is one of the premier events on the LPGA Calendar thanks to the whole-hearted support of the players. HSBC take a great deal of pride in the knowledge that every qualified healthy player has taken up their place in the field. The strict qualification criteria ensure we have the best players in the world gathered here for what we know will be a fantastic week of golf at the immaculately prepared Tanah Merah Country Club.”
Looking at the strength of golf in the Asian region, Guy Harvey Samuel said, “We are delighted to have Jiyai Shin, our defending champion, Lorena Ochoa, Cristie Kerr, Ai Miyazato and Michelle Wie here today to celebrate the start of the third HSBC Women’s Champions. We believe their presence, together with the host of other Champions attending our tournament this week, will help inspire young female golfers in Singapore and throughout Asia. With all the young Asian golf talent that has emerged in the past year, the 2010 HSBC Women’s Champions promises to be the most inspiring to date.”
Robbie Henchman, Senior Vice President of the tournament promoters IMG, echoed Harvey-Samuel’s comments, saying, “Golf interest in Asia and the number of female champions emerging from the region continues to grow. Twelve of the LPGA events last year were won by Asian players which shows the global nature of the sport today and the vast talent we have playing the game across the continents. Asia remains a developing market in golf and the HSBC Women’s Champions stands proudly at the forefront of world-class golf events in the region, if not the world with players and fans alike frequently referring to it as ‘Asia’s Major.”
Making his first trip to the event in Singapore, LPGA Commissioner, Mike Whan said, “The HSBC Women’s Champions is the perfect example of an ideal LPGA tournament, showcasing our top players in a vibrant, bustling city like Singapore. As a partner, HSBC's eye toward global growth fits nicely with the diversity of the LPGA's players and fans.”
This year’s field of 63 players, competing over four days of stroke play for a share of the US$1.3million prize purse is the most impressive yet. For the first time in the event’s history, 24 of the world’s top 25 players from the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings will all tee-off in a line-up that also includes 54 of the top 55 ranked players on the LPGA’s Official Money List.
This year’s host country invite will be 16 year old Joey Poh who won the Local Qualifying Tournament for the second year running. Joey is also a member of the HSBC Youth Golf Excellence Programme. Another Asian female who took one of the last spots in the 63 player line-up is China’s Shanshan Feng who is a sponsor’s invite this year and will mentor Poh this week as they both look to please their local fans and supporters.