HSBC Women's Champions to be all-round experience
HSBC Women's Champions organisers plan all-round experience for fans
They are three pillars of a hedonistic lifestyle, but when the best female players in the world come to town for the HSBC Women's Champions from March 3 to 6 next year, the phrase "wine, women and song" will be given a bit of a different spin.
Fans who find their way to the Sentosa Golf Club will witness the likes of world No. 1 Lydia Ko and her closest challenger on the rankings, Park Inbee, battling the beast that is the Serapong Course.
And on the sidelines of what is considered Asia's Major, they will be treated to four days of music acts, with EDM artist Jack Novak opening a one-night only concert by UK pop band Take That on the Saturday before the final round tees off on March 6.
While organisers will unveil specific names at a later date, the course-side food village will feature an internationally renowned chef whipping up a gastronomical storm.
All of these elements will be located within the Sentosa Golf Club, including the concert, which will see Take That strut their stuff on a custom-built stage set up inside the driving range.
"Fans are expecting a lot more than coming to watch a spectacle, they're looking forward to an entire experience. Trying to widen the audience to a more general appeal is the main thrust behind (the move to include lifestyle elements to the event)," said Robbie Henchman, senior vice-president, head of IMG Asia Pacific, the tournament organisers.
"It's an evolution of us delivering a greater fan experience."
The Women's Champions has been held in Singapore since its inception in 2008, with a winners' list that includes Lorena Ochoa, Paula Creamer and Park.
The vision is a clear one: even after the likes of Ko, Park and Creamer trudge off the golf course, fans stay on, eating, drinking and making merry as musical acts take centre stage.
"My biggest disappointment would be that as soon as the last putt falls, everyone goes home," said Henchman.
The Formula One Singapore Grand Prix is a clear illustration of just how sports can go hand in hand with entertainment and lifestyle, but Singapore Tourism Board director, sports, Jean Ng, insists it is not a case of jumping on the bandwagon.
"Every sporting product has its own formula for success, I don't think we necessarily need to be replicating the Formula One model for all events," she said.
"One of the reasons we did this (with the Women's Champions) is to broaden the appeal to a larger demographic, and at the same time we wanted to deepen the fan experience."
The tournament is one of the best in the world and always has one of the toughest fields we play all year... The festival sounds like a great move and is definitely the right way forward for the game.
— HSBC Women’s Champions incumbent Park Inbee
Lahiri, Jaidee boost for Asia team
Captain Jeev Milkha Singh yesterday unveiled a line-up featuring Asian Tour No. 1 Anirban Lahiri of India and Thai star Thongchai Jaidee to shoulder Asia's hopes in next month's EurAsia Cup.
Also qualifying for the Asia team are India's S S P Chowrasia, Japan's Shingo Katayama, Malaysia's Danny Chia, Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand, and South Korean duo K T Kim and Byeong Hun An.
Jeev named Malaysian Nicholas Fung, China's Wu Ashun, Prayad Marksaeng of Thailand and South Korean Jeung Hun Wang as his captain's picks for the second edition of the new Ryder Cup-style matchplay event.
"I believe we have assembled a very strong team capable of defeating Team Europe after the thrilling 10-10 draw in 2014," said Jeev.
Asia will face a Europe team captained by Darren Clarke and featuring Ryder Cup veterans Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter, along with their fellow Englishman Danny Willet and France's Victor Dubuisson.
Europe and Asia will both be trying to win the EurAsia Cup for the first time after the draw last year in the inaugural edition at Glenmarie Golf and Country Club in Malaysia.
The European side also include Englishmen Ross Fisher, Chris Wood, Matthew Fitzpatrick and Andy Sullivan, Ireland's Shane Lowry, Bernd Wiesberger of Austria, Denmark's Soren Kjeldsen and Swede Kristoffer Broberg. - AFP.