HAIKOU, 21 Oct, 2016, (HK Golfer News Wire) - The nine-time Major Champion was speaking from the Chinese tropical island of Hainan on the eve of the 2016 Mission Hills World Celebrity Pro-Am.
“Golf in Asia is growing quicker than anywhere else in the world and I was very proud to see a Chinese lady [Feng Shanshan] win a bronze medal at the Olympics,” said the 80-year-old South African. “We are going to see a Tiger Woods come from China in a matter of time which will be very exciting.”
Player will be gracing the fairways of the signature Blackstone Course at Mission Hills Haikou on October 22-23 for the fourth edition of the Mission Hills World Celebrity Pro-Am. He is joined by John Daly, Mark O’Meara and Rich Beem – all Major winners – plus an equally impressive foursome of LPGA stars Paula Creamer, Natalie Gulbis, Suzann Pettersen and Anna Nordqvist.
Local favourite Li Hao-tong, winner of the European Tour’s Volvo China Open earlier this year, will make up the field of nine elite golfers who will be competing over two rounds of individual stableford for a prize purse of US$ 1 million – with US$250,000 going to the winner.
Excitement is building not just among the golfers but also from the sporting and entertainment icons who will be playing alongside them in a separate bid for the celebrity and team titles.
Hollywood stars Michael Douglas and Jeremy Renner are just two of the celebrities in Haikou for the week of golf and glamour. Having attended the Mission Hills Film Forum, Douglas said: “This week is an extraordinary opportunity to bring the world together, for us to meet so many Chinese actors and directors and, for me, to combine golf and cinema – my two loves.”
“Being around so many great golfers, it will be fun to just watch and learn,” said Renner. “Spending time with fans is one of my favourite things and it has been amazing to come here to China and realise there is a lot of love and support here for me,” he added on his first visit to the country.
Stars from the world of sport include three-time Wimbledon champion Boris Becker and basketball Hall of Famers Allen Iverson and Yao Ming. They are joined by a host of footballing legends, including Manchester United stars Paul Scholes, Dwight Yorke, Lee Sharpe and David May and Liverpool greats Robbie Fowler, Luis Garcia and Gary McAllister.