WGC-HSBC Champions Off To A Flying Start
As play got under way beneath blue skies and sunshine at the WGC-HSBC Champions at Sheshan International this morning there was a sense of anticipation among both players and fans.
Five of the world’s top six players are among the elite 77-man field (England’s Chris Wood was a late withdrawal through injury) and vying for one of the most coveted trophies in the game. It’s not every day that players get to contest a World Golf Championships event, so to do so in such a place as Shanghai makes it extra special.
Spectators who were once curious observers have become true and knowledgeable fans thanks to the profile given to the game by the WGC-HSBC Champions – ‘Asia’s Major’ – since the tournament was first played in 2005. Most would have admitted they were spoilt for choice this morning when it came to choosing who to follow among the likes of Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Patrick Reed, Francesco Molinari, Justin Rose, the defending champion, and local favourite, Haotong Li.
All of them, however, were able to take advantage of WeChat, the most widely used Chinese social media platform, who have become an Official Partner for the championship. Through a new ‘WeChat Mini-Program‘, fans can gain access to real-time tournament information and scores from anywhere on the course, as well as exclusive behind-the-scenes content.
Off the course, fans are also given a warm welcome in the HSBC Interactive Village, where they can visit the WeChat Experience Centre, take part in a Beat The Pro challenge, take on the newly designed Putting Pyramid and much more.
One particular favourite for young fans – anyone under 18 gets in for free if accompanied by an adult – is the fan zone by the newly-installed Lake View area where they can get players’ autographs.
Among the players to get off to a good start was Reed, the Masters champion, who was seven under par with six holes to play. In every sense the WGC HSBC Champions was off to a flying start.