VOLVO COMMITTED TO GROWTH OF GOLF IN GREATER CHINA

Beijing (CHINA): The future of golf in China is bright according to Sven De Smet, Chairman of Volvo China Open Board and Vice President of Brand and Marketing, Volvo Car Asia Pacific.

Speaking at the final press briefing before the start of the RMB 20 million Volvo China Open at Topwin Golf and Country Club, De Smet said the tournament’s title sponsor was committed to continuing to grow the game in the world’s most populous nation.

We at Volvo intend to focus all our golfing efforts in Greater China,” he said. “For example we staged our International Qualifying event in Hong Kong in order to make it more accessible to for overseas players – we want to open the Open.”

Flanked by Ben Cowen, The European Tour’s Director of International Policy, and Li Dazheng, Deputy Director General Multi-Ball Games Administrative Centre of General Administration of Sport and Vice President of the China Golf Association, De Smet also outlined Volvo’s plans to aid younger players.

We see the game as a pyramid with the Volvo China Open at the top and the junior players coming into the sport at the base,” he added.

In conjunction with the junior players of the China Golf Association, we will develop a stronger approach to the development of the junior game. There is a lot of new young talent coming into the sport and we want to help nurture and develop that talent.”  

One of the keys to encouraging young players is the performance of role models such as Volvo China Open defending champion Li Hao-tong who said his life has changed considerably since winning last year’s event, also staged at Topwin Golf and Country Club in Beijing.

There have been a lot of changes in my life because of that win so I’m happy to have seen my game progress and I’m looking forward to getting stronger,” said the charismatic 21-year-old. “People ask me about this year’s Open but I’m just going to treat it like any normal tournament and not put too much pressure on myself.

Speaking on behalf of The European Tour, Cowen said he and his team were delighted to be back in Beijing. “Our thanks go to Volvo and the China Golf Association for their support and vision,” he said.

Volvo has been our longest partner and we have grown together over the 30 years. When we started out together, we were very much a European-based tour but it’s relationships like this that have helped us grow to become an organisation with 47 events in 25 different countries.”

Cowen added that it was because of the overwhelming quality of the players involved that the Volvo China Open has seen 22 different winners in 22 years. “That’s definitely a testament to the quality of the field we have at the Volvo China Open. It is very difficult to predict a winner but we do know that at the end of this week we will have a successful tournament and a worthy champion.”

Ends

The 23rd staging of the Volvo China Open takes place from April 27th-30th at Topwin Golf and Country Club, Beijing. Volvo was the first western brand to engage with golf in China in 1995, and this will be Volvo's 86th tournament on the European Tour. The prize fund is RMB 20 million. The tournament is organized by the China Golf Association with Volvo Car Event Management as co-organizer and promoter, and is co-sanctioned by the European Tour and OneAsia.

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