Golf-McIlroy and Woods criticised for Champions no-show

SHENZHEN, China Wed Oct 31, 2012 5:20am IST

SHENZHEN, China Oct 31 (Reuters) - The sponsors of this week's WGC-Champions event have criticised world number one Rory McIlroy and 14-times major winner Tiger Woods for turning down the chance to play in the tournament.

The pair played in a lucrative head-to-head exhibition match on Monday at Jinsha Lake in China.

McIlroy is now in Bulgaria watching his tennis-playing girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki competing while second-ranked Woods moved on to Singapore to fulfil corporate engagements.

"On the one hand we have by far and away the strongest field in Asia this year, 13 of the top 20 are here. But of course we are disappointed the top two are not here," HSBC's worldwide head of sponsorship Giles Morgan told reporters.

"We are looking at a true world golf championship. As a sponsor we can provide the prize money and all of the wonderful facilities for spectators, customers, the media etc. But the one thing you need of course is the players."

Morgan emphasised how important it was for the sport's main attractions to turn up to the big events outside the United States and Europe given the financial recession.

"We believe very strongly in supporting golf around the world at all levels because we believe the sport has great potential to grow," he explained.

"But in order to showcase itself particularly in emerging markets for golf such as China we feel as many of the top players should be here."

Morgan said that with so many sporting sponsors suffering during the recession, golfers should be wary of upsetting them.

"Without the sponsors there isn't professional golf and I speak on behalf of the industry," he added. "Here in China we have built something very big, very quickly so we need to continue to try to invest and encourage people to play.

"I feel very strongly as I know a number of sponsors do, that particularly in a downturn, particularly when there are financial difficulties around the world, that golf cannot be immune."

The $7 million WGC-Champions event starts on Thursday. (Editing by Tom Pilcher)

Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

SPORTS SHOWCASE

Hungarian Practice

Hungarian Practice

Hamilton aims for damage limitation - again  Full Article 

Drogba's Back

Drogba's Back

Chelsea re-sign striker Drogba  Full Article | Related Story 

Russian GP

Russian GP

F1 teams rule out Russian race boycott  Full Article 

Motor Racing

Motor Racing

Force India happy to retain drivers, says Mallya  Full Article 

Bebe Sold

Bebe Sold

United sell misfit Bebe to Benfica  Full Article 

2018 World Cup

2018 World Cup

FIFA committed to 2018 World Cup in Russia  Full Article 

Canadian Open

Canadian Open

DeLaet well placed to end Canadian title drought  Full Article 

Colombo Test

Colombo Test

Amla, De Villiers dig in for South Africa in second test  Full Article 

Disgraced Suarez

Disgraced Suarez

Banned Suarez could make Barca debut in El Clasico  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage