BMW Masters: Defending champion Hanson and golf superstar McIlroy lock horns again in Shanghai this October. Rival pair aims to re-create 2012’s classic battle at Lake Malaren Golf Course.
Munich/Shanghai. Defending champion Peter Hanson (Sweden) and world number three Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland will again battle for the 2013 BMW Masters title from 24th to 27th October at Lake Malaren Golf Course in Shanghai, after the pair finished winner and runner-up respectively, last year.
One year ago, BMW completed a stunning return to the world of Asian golf with the launch of the BMW Masters. In addition, the European Tour announced that, as of 2013, the BMW Masters would become the first stop in ‘The Finals Series’ of final four events in the Race to Dubai. This means, any European Tour Member hoping to qualify for the DP World Tour Championship – and therefore earn a chance to compete for The Race to Dubai $3.75 million Bonus Pool – will have to participate in two of the three events preceding the season finale. This regulation only applies to those pros who are eligible for all three at the close of entries.
This development undoubtedly signifies the BMW Masters’ elevation to the very top echelon of global golf competition, and is a hugely significant milestone in BMW’s long-term contribution to the sport. “When we made the decision to return to the pinnacle of Asian golf by holding this flagship professional golf tournament in Shanghai, BMW had one unswerving aim: To create a large world class golfing spectacle to give players, spectators, the media and our commercial partners the chance to experience golf at the highest standard possible, allowing everyone to enjoy the pleasure of golf through BMW,” said Eckhard Wannieck, Head of BMW International Sponsoring, Cooperations and Product Placement. He added: “Last year’s inaugural BMW Masters tournament exceeded even our own expectations, and now in 2013 we are fully committed to creating an even bigger and better event.”
In 2012, a thrilling duel saw Hanson win the BMW Masters title before promptly declaring it was the most important victory of his career. “Overcoming Rory McIlroy, one of the best golfers in the world, gave me an enormous confidence boost,” said Hanson. “I know Rory is coming back this year and as last year, he will be the crowd favourite. Rory as well as several other top players know the course at Lake Malaren and it will be a great challenge to win again. But I am going back with confidence as the defending champion. I have held back Rory last year, if I play like I did in 2012, I believe I can do it again.”
As 2011 Shanghai Masters winner, and the world’s number one at that time, high hopes were placed on McIlroy at last year’s tournament, but, much to his regret, he missed out by one stroke. “Two years ago I was the winner at Lake Malaren, last year I came short to force a playoff with Peter by one stroke. I look forward to come back this October and if I play at my best, I might have the chance to take back the title,” said McIlroy.
It can’t be denied that since teeing off at the start of this year, the 2011 US Open and 2012 PGA Championship winner hasn’t been at his best. But what can’t be ignored is that last year he also went through a similar dip in form, before grabbing a stunning eight-stroke victory at Kiawah Island to win his second major. He then went on to win the Deutsche Bank Championship, the BMW Championship and the DP World Tour Championship, becoming the second ever player to win both the PGA Tour and European Tour money titles in the same year.
Clearly, McIlroy’s results in early 2013 will be a huge motivation for him to win in the latter part of this year, particularly at the BMW Masters since the event is now part of “The Finals Series” for the Race to Dubai. “I would love to win every time I tee it up, there is no doubt about that, and with the BMW Masters being one of the biggest tournaments on the European Tour, I´m going to go all out for victory to take back my Shanghai crown,” said McIlroy.
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