US Open champion Rory McIlroy and world No. 2 Lee Westwood are vying for the $2 million winner’s check in the Lake Malaren Shanghai Masters. Though the tournament is unsanctioned and will bring no points to the participants, the world’s top golfers were still attracted to the possibility of landing the world’s biggest golf prize.
Besides Westwood of Great Britain and McIlroy of Northern Ireland, the event also features Masters 2011 winner Charl Schwartzel of South Africa, his compatriot Retief Goosen, Padraig Harrington of Ireland, PGA Champion Keegan Bradley of America, Ian Poulter of England, Scottish veteran golfer Colin Montgomerie and the first Chinese golf player to win a European Tour event, Zhang Lian-wei. South Korea also has strong representation in the tournament, including Asia’s most successful golfer Choi Kyung-Ju.
The Chinese tournament is staged at a premium course designed by eighteen-time major winner Jack Nicklaus and his team. The course covers nearly 560 acres, including numerous valleys and changes.
Not everybody in China was content with the exhibition tournament and its huge purse. Asian Tour CEO Kyi Hla Han said that the event served only for elite golfers and not for Asian players as they cannot match American and European golfer in performance.
However, tournament organizers do not agree, saying that the field has many Asian players and they have a unique chance to play against the world’s top golfers.