The organisers of the annual World Match Play Championship at Wentworth are seeking new sponsorship for the event after HSBC announced that it would not be backing the tournament beyond this year’s renewal in the autumn.
HSBC signed a 10-year deal in 2003 to sponsor the presitigious tournament, whose list of former champions includes the likes of Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Seve Ballesteros and Nick Faldo. However, the bank revealed yesterday that it would be terminating the deal early to focus on its sponsorship of the China-based Champions Tournament each November.
HSBC is widely credited with reviving global interest in the World Match Play Championship, and its first prize of £1 million is the highest of the season on either the US or European Tours. In 2006 England’s Paul Casey (pictured with the trophy) walked away with the title and the bumper payday.
“It’s a brilliant event and we think that we have helped revive it,” said HSBC’s head of global sports marketing and sponsorhip Giles Morgan.
“It’s been a very difficult decision because we have had five great years, but we have decided as a business that it’s time to move on. We are going to go out on a high this year. We want it to be the best ever and go out with a bang.”