Kaymer Back to Defend Title at Mission Hills

Defending champion Martin Kaymer, World No. 3 Luke Donald, World No. 4 Lee Westwood and four-time major winner Phil Mickelson will highlight the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions this week at Mission Hills Guangdong, China, on the Olazabal Course.

Kaymer, the 2010 US PGA Champion, is looking forward to defending the title that he won in such style last November, with nine birdies on the final day leaving him three shots clear of the chasing pack. Germany's number-one player commented, "I think HSBC is a lucky charm for me! I really like HSBC tournaments as I seem to play so well in them. Last year I won HSBC's tournament in Abu Dhabi again and then I had an amazing week at the WGC-HSBC Champions in November. It is a little bit of a disadvantage to be defending my title on a different course, but I really liked the Olazabal Course when I played the World Cup there in 2009, so I am looking forward to returning and seeing if I can mount a successful defense of this prestigious title."

Kaymer continued, "I haven't had as good a year as I would have liked and I really want to finish my season on a high note, so winning my second World Golf Championships would be a great way to turn my season around. It is the biggest event we play in Asia and it is one that everyone wants to win."

Donald is also eagerly anticipating his week at the HSBC Champions, having missed out on playing last year at the last minute as he awaited the birth of his second daughter. Donald added, "I was so disappointed to miss out on playing at the WGC-HSBC Champions last year, although it was for the best possible reason! It is Asia's flagship event and has become a very significant tournament worldwide, and I think our performances there will be a key factor in deciding both the Race to Dubai and the World Ranking come the end of the year."

Mickelson, a two time winner of the HSBC Champions, said, "I've had great experiences at the WGC-HSBC Champions, and I am really looking forward to playing in the next edition. I love competing around the world, and it's truly exciting in the growing markets of Asia and China because there's a real buzz about golf and the fans are so enthusiastic and appreciative. Although I have won the title twice, this year we are playing on a new course in a new venue, so I won't have the advantage of my past experiences. This is a world-class tournament and to win my third title would be a wonderful finale for my season."

England's Westwood added, "As Asia becomes ever more important on the global golf map, I think it would be very special to claim my first World Golf Championships title in China. I enjoy this tournament and, having never finished outside the top 15 including two second-place finishes, hopefully I can finish one place higher this year."

The final World Golf Championships of 2012 will take place at Mission Hills for the first time after seven very successful editions at the Sheshan International Golf Club in Shanghai. With the announcement of these great players, a stellar field is expected to be revealed over the coming weeks by tournament organizers, IMG.

Giles Morgan, Global Head of Sponsorship and Events for HSBC, said, "HSBC is delighted to welcome back these four great champions to the eighth World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions. Martin's nine birdies on the Sunday of last year's tournament was one of the most remarkable performances of 2012 and he was an excellent champion and one we very much look forward to welcoming back. It has been extremely gratifying to see how eager Luke and Phil have been to return after missing out last year, while Lee has seemed to be almost a permanent fixture on our leaderboard and would be a very popular champion."

The HSBC Champions boasts a prize fund of $7 million and is one of four World Golf Championships sanctioned and organized by the operational committee of the International Federation of PGA Tours, which includes the Asian Tour, European Tour, Japan Golf Tour, PGA TOUR, PGA Tour of Australasia and Sunshine Tour. The other World Golf Championships include the Accenture Match Play Championship, Cadillac Championship and Bridgestone Invitational.

The following marquee players have won the coveted HSBC Champions title: David Howell; YE Yang; Sergio Garcia; Francesco Molinari; Phil Mickelson, the only one to have won the title twice; and Martin Kaymer.


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