BMW Masters, China
April 24, 2012 Leave a comment
As of this season, BMW will present the golfing world with another highlight – the BMW Masters. Led by world number one Rory McIlroy, the sport’s top stars will assemble at Shanghai’s Lake Malaren Golf Club from 25th to 28th October, where they will fight it out for a share of the seven million dollar prize purse.
“I am already looking forward to teeing off at the new tournament,” said McIlroy. The world number one is not only the reigning US Open Champion, but also won last year’s Lake Malaren Shanghai Masters, which is now being replaced by the BMW Masters. At the tournament presentation, McIlroy’s fellow Northern Irishman Darren Clarke symbolically teed off from the BMW stand using an explosive golden ball. As well as the “Claret Jug”, the British Open winner also brought the “old” trophy with him. Clarke was the last man to win the BMW Asian Open in 2008. As such he will, to a certain degree, line up as defending champion in Lake Malaren.
Clarke recalled his emotional success back in 2008. “I still have very vivid memories of what was a great tournament,” he said. The victory brought to an end a five-year winless streak for the Major winner. Clarke’s past history at the event means he is particularly pleased to see BMW returning to China. “I cannot praise the BMW’s commitment to golf highly enough. For years BMW has demonstrated around the world just how close the game is to the brand’s heart. Golf would be in a far worse state without the involvement of BMW. We professionals all really appreciate what the company is doing for the game.”
As far back as the start of the millennium, BMW was one of the first brands in the world to promote and encourage the growing enthusiasm for the sport in Asia. In 2001 the company responded to the growth in popularity by organising a professional tournament: the BMW Asian Open, which was also held in Shanghai.
George O’Grady, Chief Executive of the European Tour, expressed his delight at the new BMW commitment. “We are proud of many partnerships we enjoy across the world of golf, but one of the most enduring is with BMW for whom this tournament represents the third title sponsorship on The European Tour in 2012, and the 45th in total over the past 23 years since the first BMW International Open in Munich in 1989. BMW is renowned for its commitment to innovation and exceptional standards of excellence in promoting professional golf tournaments, and the visit to Lake Malaren Golf Club in Shanghai in October will once again underline that fact. Additionally The European Tour has always been made to feel so welcome by the Chinese Golf Association with whom we also have a strong committed partnership.”
Dr. Ian Robertson, George O’Grady, Zhang Xiao-ning (Vice President and General Secretary of the CGA) and Shi Jian, CEO of the SRE Group, parent company of the Lake Malaren Golf Club Shanghai, were greeted by a round of applause as they signed the tournament contract, thus finalising the long-term agreement between BMW, the European Tour and the CGA.
Zhang Xiao-ning thanked BMW for its involvements: “We admire the outstanding vision and shrewd market investment of BMW Group. The BMW Masters will play a positive role in promoting the popularization and development of the world and China golf games, as well as taking the competitiveness of golf to a new level. At the same time, I hope all the contestants to present the charisma of golf for the fans giving their best performances.”