Golf’s European Tour has announced that its 2015 schedule will include a new event in Shenzhen that has been designed to promote the Chinese city to a global audience.
The inaugural Shenzhen International will take place at the Genzon Golf Club, venue of the 2014 China Open, from April 16-19, one week after the 2015 edition of the US Masters.
A total of 100 players from the European Tour, 50 players from the China Golf Association and six sponsor invites will compete for a prize fund of $2.5m (€2m).
Ke Gangming, Counsel of Culture Sports and Tourism Administration of Shenzhen Municipality, said the event will help promote the city on a global scale and has the potential to support future development in the region. “Through its international trading links, Shenzhen is China’s window to the world,” Gangming said. “In addition to staging a first-class international golf tournament, it is our intention to use this event to showcase the modern and vibrant city of Shenzhen to the world.”
The European Tour in July opted to open a new office in Beijing to develop its presence in China. George O’Grady, chief executive of the European Tour, said: “In recent years, China has become an increasingly important player in the global golf market. Genzon Golf Club, and the city of Shenzhen, both proved to be superb hosts for the China Open earlier this year, so we had no hesitation in agreeing to return there for the Shenzhen International.”
Ada Zhu, vice-chairman of the IMG agency’s Asia-Pacific arm, which will operate and stage the inaugural tournament, also said that the event will help drive golf’s development in the country.
He added: “The Shenzhen International is an exciting new addition to Asia’s ever-expanding schedule of professional golf tournaments. We commend the Genzon Group for this bold new initiative, which will see the world’s best players competing in Shenzhen, which will undoubtedly have a significant impact on the further development of the game both in China and throughout the region.”