Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images AsiaPac
Omega Mission Hills World Cup to become biennial event from 2011
Record prize fund for move to new venue in Mission Hills Resort, Hainan
The Omega Mission Hills World Cup will return to the international golfing calendar in 2011 as a biennial event – staged in every odd year – with a record prize fund of US$7,500,000 at a brand new venue in the Mission Hills Resort on Hainan Island in Southern China from November 24-27 next year; it was announced today by the International Federation of PGA Tours, the International Golf Association, Omega and Mission Hills.
The re-positioning of the Omega Mission Hills World Cup, which has been played at Mission Hills Shenzhen, China, between 2007 and 2009, as a biennial event follows last year’s decision by the International Olympic Committee to re-introduce golf to the Olympic movement from 2016.
By playing the event in alternate years from 2011, the World Cup is aligned with many of the major sports in the Olympic movement, such as the World Athletics Championships, which are contested biennially and are not in any potential conflict with the summer and winter Olympic Games.
However, the Olympic golf tournament will be staged as an individual competition, whereas the Omega Mission Hills World Cup remains the only team event in the men’s professional game where players can proudly represent their own countries, thus maintaining its status as the oldest international team event in professional golf.
In 2011, the Omega Mission Hills World Cup will be among the richest events in world golf, with prize money for the 28 team competition increasing from US$5,500,000 in 2009 to a record US$7,500,000 when the event makes its debut at the newly opened Mission Hills Resort Hainan.
Next year’s winning team will earn US$2,400,000 - US$1,200,000 to each player - which is $350,000 more than last year’s winners. The new prize fund elevates the 2011 Omega Mission Hills World Cup right up alongside the Major Championships and the World Golf Championships.
The format for the contest will remain unchanged, with two series of foursomes and two series of fourballs on alternative days, which has the capacity to create huge swings in fortune and adding to the drama and excitement of the event.
The Omega Mission Hills World Cup will be hosted on the Blackstone course, a spectacular, 350-acre layout that weaves through a striking landscape of mature trees, expansive wetlands, ancient town ruins and ever-present lava rock, the 7,777-yard Blackstone features a myriad of risk / reward opportunities throughout the back nine. The course is set in front of the 525-room 5-star resort complex and the 238,000 square-feet clubhouse, making it ideal for hosting the world’s foremost golf tournaments.
Stephen Urquhart, President of Omega, said: “In addition to finding a coherent strategy in relation to the Olympics, one of the main reasons for making the World Cup of Golf a biennial event is that it should give all the Federations involved a better opportunity to send their best teams to represent their country. We are confident that we can make important inroads in our primary objective which is to re-establish the World Cup of Golf in its rightful position.”
“The World Cup of Golf was established in 1953 by the International Golf Association to allow the world’s best players to represent their countries in a team competition and to promote international goodwill through golf. We believe the changes to the World Cup announced today and the significant increase in the purse for such event all go to further the mission of the International Golf Association and the World Cup of Golf,” said Jon Linen, Chairman of the International Golf Association.
Dr David Chu, Chairman, Mission Hills Golf Club, said: “We are extremely pleased to be bringing the World Cup to our new development in Haikou on Hainan Island. Similar to its role in setting off the golf boom in China when it arrived at Mission Hills for the first time in 1995, the World Cup will undoubtedly play a significant role in establishing Hainan as the world’s foremost sports and leisure destination.”
“We are proud to be part of this next chapter in the World Cup’s long and storied history. Today’s announcement underscores the shared ambitions of Mission Hills, Omega, and the International Federation of PGA Tours to develop the World Cup and give it its deserving place among the world’s biggest sports competitions.”
George O’Grady, Chief Executive of The European Tour, commenting on behalf of the International Federation of PGA Tours, said: “We are delighted that the Omega Mission Hills World Cup will be held in Hainan in 2011.
“The world of golf is understandably excited about the prospect of the game returning to the Olympic movement from 2016, and that historic announcement in Copenhagen last October was a major motive behind the decision to re-position the World Cup in odd years.
“The International Federation of PGA Tours would like to thank Omega, Mission Hills and the International Golf Association, our partner in the redevelopment of the World Cup in 2007, for their support in building the Omega Mission Hills World Cup. The impressive new Mission Hills complex at Hainan Island will offer a new experience for our players and for fans from around the world. Our gratitude also goes to the China Golf Association for its commitment to the World Cup, an event which affords all golfers to represent their country.”
The prestige watch manufacturer OMEGA was founded in Switzerland in 1848 and since then has continually set the pace in many fields of watchmaking, from sports timekeeping and design awards to watches for professional use in space or underwater. OMEGA is closely associated with a world of achievements including the conquest of space, timekeeping at 24 Olympic Games and numerous precision records as well as the launch in 1999 of the first series-produced wristwatch to be equipped with the revolutionary Co-Axial escapement, one of the most important innovations in mechanical watchmaking in more than two centuries. Co-Axial technology now drives the majority of OMEGA’s mechanical watches.
OMEGA was Official Timekeeper for the 24th time at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games. The brand recently announced that it had extended its agreement with the IOC through 2020.
ABOUT MISSION HILLS RESORT HAINAN
Mission Hills Resort Hainan lies on the volcanic region of exotic Hainan Island, China. The resort sets a new standard in leisure, recreation and wellness experiences. Nestled amid lush, green gardens, the resort caters to golf enthusiasts and comprises specially-designed golf courses, each one incorporating the native lava rock formations. Other state-of-the-art features include 525 tastefully appointed guest rooms and suites, a three-storey clubhouse, meeting facilities, 12 world-class restaurants, a fully-equipped sports and recreation center, Hainan’s only aquatic theme park, therapeutic natural mineral springs, a spa oasis, and a shopping arcade. A magnificent addition to Hainan’s tropical island paradise, Mission Hills Resort Hainan is poised to be the island’s premier sanctuary, attracting visitors from around the globe.
Conveniently located in Haikou city, the administrative and legislative hub of Hainan, Mission Hills Resort Hainan is just 15 minutes from the city center and Haikou Meilan International Airport.
ABOUT THE INTERNATIONAL GOLF ASSOCIATION
Established by Canadian industrialist John Jay Hopkins in 1953, the International Golf Association has pursued the mission of "International Goodwill through Golf" for over fifty years. As the owner of the World Cup name, IGA has sanctioned the world's most prestigious international team golf competition throughout six decades. IGA is governed by its Board of Directors, which includes Chairman Jonathan S. Linen (Advisor to the Chairman, American Express), Deane R. Beman (Former PGA TOUR Commissioner), J. B. McCoy (Retired Chairman, Bank One Corporation) and Bill Souders (Former Executive Vice-President and Director, Xerox Corporation).
ABOUT THE INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF PGA TOURS
The International Federation of PGA Tours, formed in 1996, was created to enhance the competitive structure of professional golf worldwide while preserving the traditions and strengths of the six member Tours. The member Tours are the Asian Tour, European Tour, Japan Golf Tour, PGA TOUR, PGA Tour of Australasia and Southern Africa Tour. The Canadian Tour and the Tour de las Americas are Associate Members of the Federation. Three major initiatives were outlined: the formation of the International Federation of PGA Tours; joint sanctioning by the members of the International Federation of PGA Tours of significant competitions for the game's top players; and a structure for a generally accepted worldwide ranking system.