REIGNING Open champion Shane Lowry, and four golfers who have all won the Masters – Patrick Reed, Sergio Garci, Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson – have confirmed their entry into ‘Asia’s Major.’
The quarter are heading to Shanghai at the end of this month to compete for the coveted WGC-HSBC Champions title.
With Brooks Koepka, Rory McIlroy, Francesco Molinari and Justin Rose already committed, reigning Champion Xander Schauffele will have his work cut out at Sheshan International Golf Club, where the field will be awash with Major champions trying to claim Asia’s most prestigious golf trophy from October 31 to November 3.
Danny Willett, who claimed the Green Jacket at Augusta in 2016 has alreadys confirmed his participation, fresh from his win at the 2019 BMW PGA Championship.
Henrik Stentson, the 2017 Open Champion, and Louis Oosthuizen, who claimed the Claret Jug at St Andrews in 2010, are also in the field, competing for an increased prize fund of $10.25million.
Irish star Lowry won his first major at Royal Portrush earlier this summer, ensuring a fairy-tale ending to what was The Open’s first visit to Ireland since 1951.
With his sights now set firmly on qualifying for the 2020 Ryder Cup, Lowry is eying the WGC-HSBC Champions as an important landmark to set him on his way.
The popular Irishman, who won his first World Golf Championship title at the 2015 Bridgestone Invitational, at Ohio’s Firestone. G&CC, said. “I am looking forward to turning up in Shanghai as a major Champion to compete for the final World Golf Championships title of the year.
“It has been a very special time since winning The Open and I have honestly enjoyed every minute of it.
“However, with the European Ryder Cup Qualifying process kicking off earlier this month, I am now looking to finish the season on a high and the WGC-HSBC Champions is where I have all my focus.
“Even although it is early days in the qualifying process, getting myself up the Ryder Cup standings will certainly help me relax over the off-season and enjoy Christmas all the more.”
Mickelson, who has three Green Jackets and a Claret Jug as well as a PGA Championship to his name, is very popular among Chinese golf fans.
He first played at the Sheshan International Golf Club in 2007 when he went on to win the title on his debut, beating Surrey’s Ross Fisher and Lee Westwood in a play-off.
Mickelson explained: “I can’t wait to return to Shanghai. My family and I have such great memories of our visits there and I love playing golf in front of my Chinese fans, who bring such a fresh excitement and energy to the course that you can’t help but enjoy every minute.
“I am feeling in the best shape of my life, having been working out really hard, so I feel full of energy and ready to end the season with the best possible result.”
Jonathan Castleman, HSBC’s Global head of brand partnerships, said: “We are delighted this thrilling line up of Major winners will be joining the stellar cast we have lined up in Shanghai.
“Shane Lowry is reigning champion of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship and The Open, of which we are a patron.
“We look forward with anticipation to see if he can make it a hat-trick of trophies for 2019.
“Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia and Bubba Watson are all previous champions at Sheshan, so it is great to welcome them back to Shanghai for Asia’s Major.
“This tournament has been a catalyst for so many exciting developments for golf in China at all levels and we look forward to that journey continuing.”
•For more details on the WGC-HSBC Champions and all ticket information, click here.