BMW Masters: "Final Series" Opens in Dazzling Fashion
SHANGHAI, CHINA - October 22, 2013: Drum roll for the European Tour’s new “Final Series” and the highlight of the 2013 BMW Golfsport season: the BMW Masters, which will take place from 24th to 27th October at Lake Malaren Golf Club in Shanghai, was officially opened on Tuesday. Last year’s Race to Dubai winner Rory McIlroy, the current leader of the European Tour’s money list Henrik Stenson, defending BMW Masters champion Peter Hanson and crowd favourite Wu Ashun represented the 78-strong, world-class field at the opening press conference. After a performance of traditional Chinese drumming, during which the four pros also tried their hand with drumsticks rather than golf clubs, the players were each presented with a Chinese fortune cookie, inside which were promising prophecies ahead of the battle for one of the most coveted titles on the European Tour.
In his welcome speech, Karsten Engel, President & CEO BMW Group Region China, was keen to stress the significance of the BMW Masters as the opening tournament of the new Final Series on the European Tour, with whom BMW has been closely associated for many years as a partner. He also emphasised just how important China is to BMW. “As our largest market, China plays a key role in BMW’s global involvement in golf. The BMW Masters plays a major role in our global golf strategy and is the perfect addition to our worldwide commitment. We are delighted to be able to present our customers and spectators with the highest standard of golf thanks to the top-class field assembled here. BMW, as a partner of the China Golf Association, is also supporting the further development of the game of golf in China.”
The first title was decided directly after the opening press conference – at the “Star Player Challenge” in the modern district of Pudong. Stenson, Hanson and Ashun headed to the “Bund” – the promenade along the bank of the Huangpu River – where they played out an exciting “Nearest-the-Pin” competition against the impressive Shanghai skyline. The stars’ task was made all the more tricky by a “visual obstacle”, over which they had to play: the new BMW i8. The plug-in hybrid is the sports car of the future and caught the eye of the Chinese spectators, almost stealing the show from the four star golfers. Hanson was the least distracted during the “Star Player Challenge”, landing his ball closest to the hole and heading into the 2013 BMW Masters on the back of a victory. The reward for his efforts was a BMW i8 – but, unfortunately for him, only a 1:14 radio-controlled scale model.