GOOD news for golfing fans in Singapore.
The HSBC Women's Champions will return and stay in the Republic for the next three years.
Title sponsor HSBC announced yesterday that the 2010 tournament will be held from 25 to 28 Feb next year. 'As you know, the last 12 months have seen some of the toughest times the world economy has faced in all our living memories,' said Guy Harvey-Samuel, chief executive officer of HSBC Singapore at a press conference in Shanghai yesterday.
'It's for that reason that I'm particularly pleased to announce that the world's local bank will be bringing the HSBC Women's Champions back to Singapore for another three years.'
The HSBC Women's Champions offered a prize fund of US$2 million ($2.8m) this year, but it will be reduced to US$1.3m for next year's tournament because of the economic downturn.
It will be increased to US$1.4m for 2011. The prize money for the 2012 tournament has not been decided.
There is also a big question mark hanging over the venue of the tournament, held at Tanah Merah Country Club's Garden course for the past two years.
'We're talking to three or four venues but we can't get into the details on that,' said Robbie Henchman, director of golf (Asia) of event promoters IMG.
The field for the HSBC Women's Champions will be reduced to 63 players, comprising the top 20 players in the world rankings and the tournament winners on the LPGA Tour this season.
The two previous winners of the tournament - Lorena Ochoa (2008) and Shin Ji Yai (2009) - earn automatic slots while there will also be two sponsors' invites up for grabs.
Singapore's Amelia Yong and Joey Poh played in the first two editions of the tournament and next year will be no different as HSBC has set aside a berth for the host country.
The rest of the field for the 72-hole strokeplay event with no cut will be made up of the highest-ranked players from the LPGA Tour money list.
'The HSBC Women's Champions is a very nice sister tournament which complements the men's event - the WGC-HSBC Champions,' said Henchman.
'The first two instalments were fantastic and we don't want to lose the momentum.'
Asked about the possibility of a direct swap between the WGC-HSBC Champions and the HSBC Women's Champions in the near future, Henchman said: 'No, not in the immediate future.
'The HSBC Women's Champions will be held in Singapore for the next three years and the WGC-HSBC Champions will remain in China.'
LIM HAN MING