LONDON (AP) – Tiger Woods will play his first professional tournament in China this fall, a $5 million event in Shanghai that will be the richest in Asia and feature top players from the world ranking and leading players from the money lists of four international tours.

The HSBC Champions will be held Nov. 10-13 at the Shanghai Sheshan International Golf Club. It will be sanctioned jointly by the European, Asian, Australasian and South African tours, along with the China Golf Association.

“I can’t wait to come to the HSBC Champions tournament in China,” Woods said in a statement Monday. “The best players in the world teeing up head to head, it’s going to be a blast for all of us as competitors, but it’s also going to be a very entertaining event for all of the people in China.”

The Associated Press first reported the new tournament in December.

The announcement was made after an agreement with title sponsor HSBC, which already sponsors match-play events on the LPGA and European tours.

China is one of the fastest growing golf markets in the world, and already hosted five tournaments on the 2005 European tour international schedule. The HSBC Champions will be the start of the 06 season in Europe.

Criteria for the tournament include the top 50 in the world ranking on Sept. 12, winners of official events on the four tours involved with the HSBC Champions, and leading money winners on those tours. Eight exemptions will be reserved for Chinese players.

First prize will be $833,000, and even the players who don’t make the cut (top 60 and ties) will be paid.


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