The 36-year-old Irishman, who has risen to number three in the world after claiming back-to-back Major titles, will renew his rivalry with Sergio Garcia, after the world number four and winner of the 2008 Player’s Championship also declared his intention to take his place at the HSBC Champions. Harrington dramatically duelled with the Spaniard on the final day of the US PGA Championship earlier this month and beat Garcia in a play-off in the 2007 Open Championship to claim the first Major of his career.
World No.11, Adam Scott has also added his name to the entry list. The 28-year-old Australian qualifying by rights of his win in the Qatar Masters at the beginning of the year.
The three star golfers join defending champion and World Number 2, Phil Mickelson and 2008 Masters Champion, Trevor Immelman, in entering the US$5 million event.
“You’ve got four of the World’s best golfers in a very high-class field,” said Harrington, who became the first European in over 100 years to successfully defend the Open Championship crown and the first in 78 years to lift the US PGA Championship trophy.
“Throw in the fact that Phil is defending his first big title outside the States and Trevor is going to be there as the reigning US Masters champion and you can see that it will be a tough tournament to win. I’ve had a 6th and a 5th in the last two years, so I’m getting closer!”
Three of the world’s top five players are now in the field which will, once again, boast the strongest field in Asia. Referred to as ‘Asia’s Major’ by many of the players, tournament winners from around the world are invited to compete alongside the World’s Top 50 leading players. The HSBC Champions is the first tournament on the European Tour Schedule and is the first counting event for the Race to Dubai, the re-named European Tour Order of Merit.
Sergio Garcia, the World Number 4, added, “Last year I really thought it was a great tournament and I really enjoyed visiting Shanghai. I love to play around the world and I am really looking forward to returning to China to play in this world-class event.”
World No.11, Australian star, Adam Scott said, “I am very excited to be playing the HSBC Champions for the first time this year. I made sure I could fit it in my schedule as it is one of the most talked about tournaments amongst the players on Tour. It already has a fantastic mix of players and for sure, the ‘Champion of Champions’ title is one I’d love to win.”
Giles Morgan, HSBC’s Group Head of Sponsorship, commented, “Golf lovers in Asia have come to expect the stars to come out to Shanghai and we’re happy to be able to deliver a world-class field once again. Winning the right to play in the HSBC Champions is an achievement in itself, and after Lorena Ochoa won the first HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore earlier this year, I think the Champions title has become even more prestigious.”
Robbie Henchman, Director of Golf, IMG Asia added, “In 2007 the HSBC Champions field was considered the strongest ever assembled for an tournament in Asia. At this early stage, the 2008 field is shaping up to be just as strong. This will be only the fourth HSBC Champions and yet it is already an integral part of the players’ schedules and we are eagerly anticipating another fantastic week in November.”
The HSBC Champions prize fund of US$5 million matches the largest on offer in Asia and the event is co-sanctioned by The European Tour, Asian Tour, the PGA Tour of Australasia, the Sunshine (Southern Africa) Tour, and the China Golf Association. A new qualifying criteria now allows the inclusion of past Champions from the previous three years ensuring the inaugural winner, England’s David Howell, and the popular Korean winner in 2006, Yong-eun Yang, will be assured of a place in the line-up this year.
Tickets are on sale and can be purchased by calling the ticket hotline: (+86 21) 962 388 and online at www.hsbcgolf.com