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HSBC disappointed Woods, McIlroy not playing
SHENZHEN, CHINA (AP) - The HSBC Champions lost some star power when Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods decided to skip the World Golf Championship event _ much to the disappointment of the tournament backers.
Giles Morgan, global head of sponsorship and events for HSBC, said he was “disappointed” that No. 1-ranked McIlroy and Woods, a 14-time major winner, are skipping the HSBC Champions after playing elsewhere in Asia.
“To have a World Golf Championship in Asia is really important for the sport, to balance the sport out, and to grow,” Morgan said. “And because it’s a World Golf Championship event, it requires the best players to be here.”
Instead of coming to Mission Hills this weekend, McIlroy is in Bulgaria to watch his girlfriend, Caroline Wozniacki, play in the WTA’s Tournament of Champions, while Woods is making a trip to Singapore for corporate commitments.
“I think the feeling is _ and it seems to be among media and a lot of other people with the stakeholders, not just us as the sponsors _ well, if they’re in China and there’s a World Golf Championship, this would be a good event to be at because it’s a WGC, but a WGC in Asia, which helps elevate the game,” said Morgan, adding that both golfers apologized to him privately for missing the event.
Ernie Els also said lamented that the game’s two biggest names weren’t there.
“You know, you can’t play every week. You can’t play everywhere,” the reigning British Open champion said. “I don’t know why they are skipping because it’s a wonderful event. It’s unfortunate they are not here.”
But other players sensed a good opportunity.
The Northern Irishman, who captured his second career major at the PGA Championship in August, has already secured the PGA Tour money title with just over $8 million, but his lead on the European money list shrank to just over $1 million after Sweden’s Peter Hanson captured the BMW Masters in Shanghai last weekend.
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