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Superstars Heading to Mission Hills
Mission Hills Group Vice Chairman Mr. Tenniel Chu addresses the media during Sunday’s Mission Hills World Celebrity Pro-Am press conference at Mission Hills Haikou, China.
Photo by Miao Hua/Mission Hills

Hollywood superstars, sporting legends and golfing greats will converge on China in October for the year’s biggest sports and entertainment spectacular, the Mission Hills World Celebrity Pro-Am.

The guest list for the eagerly-awaited week of golf, glamour and gala events reads like a Who’s Who of global show business and elite sporting endeavour.

Oscar winners Morgan Freeman and Nicole Kidman are being lined up to appear, together with Hollywood heartthrob Chris Evans. Dazzling actress Jessica Alba is confirmed to take part, as is music maestro Kenny G.

Sporting icons heading to the globally-televised World Celebrity Pro-Am include two Olympic legends, Russian ice skater Evgeni Plushenko and Chinese gymnast Li Ning, and Portuguese former international footballer Luís Figo.

China’s basketball legend and former NBA star Yao Ming will also take part in the tournament for the second time. The retired athlete remains one of the most influential sporting figures in China and his revisit to Mission Hills will further popularize the game of golf in the nation.

Top golfers confirmed for the tournament include reigning US Open champion Justin Rose, the flamboyant Ian Poulter, multiple Major winners Gary Player, Greg Norman and John Daly, and Europe’s 2014 Ryder Cup captain, Paul McGinley.

In total, participants in this year’s star-spangled event have collected more than 160 acting awards, over 100 music awards, 35 Olympic and World Championship medals and a staggering 335 professional golf victories, including 15 Majors.

China’s entertainment industry will be well represented by the country’s top film director, Feng Xiaogang, acclaimed actors Chen Daoming and Wang Zhiwen, and singer Sun Nan.

Hong Kong celebrities taking part include film director Sammo Hung, actors Donnie Yen, Eric Tsang, Simon Yam, Natalis Chan, Michael Wong and Ruco Chan, and actress Miriam Yeung.

The third edition of the World Celebrity Pro-Am will be held from 24-26 October at the fully-integrated Mission Hills Haikou Resort on the tropical island of Hainan.

The tournament will see 24 professional golfers and 24 celebrities come together for a bonanza of action and entertainment – including the first-ever staging in China of the new combination sport that is taking Europe by storm, football-golf.

For the first time, the World Celebrity Pro-Am will feature a Ryder Cup-style format, with the 24 celebrities divided into two teams for an Entertainment v Sport showdown. Each celebrity will be paired with a professional golfer and the teams will face off over two rounds of fourball betterball.

While assisting their celebrity playing partners, the professional golfers will also be competing for an individual prize fund of US$1 million.

The list of celebrities and golfers confirmed for the event was announced in a packed press conference at Mission Hills Haikou today (Sunday) that was attended by Feng Xiaogang, his actress wife, Xu Fan, and Miriam Yeung, among other VIPs.

Jessica Alba shot to stardom more than a decade ago in the hit TV series Dark Angel, which launched her into a successful movie career that has included Sin City, Fantastic Four and Valentine’s Day.

“I'm excited to be taking part in the Mission Hills World Celebrity Pro-Am in October,” she commented. “I love visiting China and this will be my first time playing golf there. I’m really looking forward to enjoying the incredible facilities at Mission Hills.”

Celebrated jazz saxophonist Kenny G is one of the best-selling recording artists of all time with global sales totalling more than 75 million records. In addition, he has collaborated with countless singers including Andrea Bocelli, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion and Frank Sinatra.

Luís Figo won 127 caps for Portugal and played for both Barcelona and Real Madrid – with whom he won the Champions League in 2002 – in a glittering soccer career. He was named European Footballer of the Year in 2000 and FIFA World Player of the Year in 2001.

Yao Ming put Chinese basketball on the world sporting map when he was chosen by the Houston Rockets as the first overall pick in the 2002 NBA draft. He spent nine years with the Rockets before retiring in 2011. During his final season, he was the tallest active player in the NBA at 2.29m (7-feet-6).

Yao returns to the World Celebrity Pro-Am after proving such a huge hit at the previous edition, when he was specially taught to play golf by Mission Hills and acted as event ambassador. On that occasion the tournament raised US$500,000 for the Yao Ming Foundation and UNICEF.

Evgeni Plushenko is regarded as one of the greatest ice skaters of all time, having won four Olympic medals, including two golds, and three world titles in a 14-year career at the top.

Li Ning, meanwhile, became a national hero in China when he won six medals, including three golds, at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. It was China’s first appearance in the Summer Games.

Another Chinese sporting great taking part will be badminton star Li Yongbo, winner of two world titles and an Olympic bronze medal in men’s doubles and now head coach of the Chinese national team.

Other professional golfers confirmed to join the Mission Hills World Celebrity Pro-Am are Major winner Rich Beem and top female players Danielle Montgomery, Carly Booth, Joanna Klatten, Linda Wessberg, Caroline Martens, Sharmila Nicollet, Maria Balikoeva, Diana Luna and Lee-Anne Pace.

“The World Celebrity Pro-Am will, once again, bring together some of the biggest stars in show business and sport for a golf-and-entertainment spectacular that will make headlines around the world,” Mission Hills Chairman and CEO Dr. Ken Chu and Vice Chairman Mr. Tenniel Chu said in a joint statement.

“We are delighted to have announced today some of the globally famous personalities who will be taking part in our signature event and we anticipate confirming more household names in the months leading up to the tournament.”

The World Celebrity Pro-Am will be played on Mission Hills Haikou’s signature Blackstone Course which hosted the World Cup of Golf in 2011, “The Match at Mission Hills” between Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy last October and the recent World Ladies Championship, won by world No.1 Inbee Park.

The fun will start early, on Thursday 23 October, with celebrities taking part in a football-golf challenge on a specially constructed course. Players will be kicking a football towards the pin and aiming to outscore each other on a series of par-three, par-four and par-five holes.

The traditional pro-celebrity-amateur practice round will take place on Friday 24 October followed by Red Carpet, Cocktail Reception, Opening Ceremony and Gala Dinner, all taking place at Mission Hills Haikou • Lan Kwai Fong, the resort’s new entertainment district.

The World Celebrity Pro-Am itself will be played over two rounds at the weekend, while Saturday evening will also feature a Celebrities and Players Appreciation Party at Mission Hills Haikou • H. Brothers • Feng Xiaogang Movie Town, the recently-opened tourist attraction that features vintage street settings from Feng’s classic movies, state-of-the-art film studios, an array of shopping and dining options and countless other entertainment and leisure features.

The previous edition of the World Celebrity Pro-Am, in 2012, was won by top American professional Matt Kuchar and actor Andy Garcia, while Kuchar also captured the individual trophy.

The Mission Hills World Celebrity Pro-Am is sponsored by American Express, Porsche, Stella Artois, Kohler, Lindt, San Pellegrino and Appletiser.

“At American Express we harness our global network of resources and capabilities to deliver exclusive, uplifting experiential leisure and lifestyle events to holders of American Express branded products,” said Mr. YC Koh, President, Asia, Card Services of American Express.

“Crafting of pre-eminent events from golf championships such as the World Celebrity Pro-Am, private showings, fine dining to pre-sale events of prestigious brands are just some of the activities which underscore our commitment to service excellence and constant innovation in delivery of inspiring lifestyle experiences.

“I look forward to extending compelling exclusive packages for the World Celebrity Pro-Am to holders of American Express branded products where they can enjoy a magnificent weekend of golf, wellness and entertainment at a stunning venue.”

President and Chief Executive Officer of Porsche China, Mr. Deesch Papke, said: “Thanks to the support of China’s many Porsche enthusiasts, China has
become our second largest global market. Porsche is dedicated to bringing
them not only sports cars, but sports cars culture and lifestyle.

“Since the Porsche enthusiast in China, as everywhere around the world, appreciates finer things in life, we feel we should introduce one of life’s finest
pleasures: a gorgeous drive to a satisfying game of golf.”

Mr. Wei Huang, VP, Marketing, AB InBev APAC, commented: “Stella Artois’ partnership with the Mission Hills Group dates back to the highly successful 2012 edition of the World Celebrity Pro-Am.

“This long-term co-operation is a natural extension to our global portfolio of top sports and entertainment collaborations which includes the Cannes Film Festival in France, the Wimbledon Championships in England, the Open Championship in Britain and the Polo Tournament in Argentina.

“We are working together with the Mission Hills Group to ensure that the fans attending the World Celebrity Pro-Am will have a fun and most enjoyable experience as they witness some of the world’s great entertainment and sports stars partake in the golf competition, numerous parties and various social events.”

About Mission Hills
Mission Hills China, owner and operator of Mission Hills Shenzhen-Dongguan, which includes 12 golf courses, and Mission Hills Haikou, which features 10 courses, is a key player in the country's fledgling sports and leisure industry. The Mission Hills brand encompasses several sub-brands, including Mission Hills Golf Clubs, Mission Hills Residences, as well as Mission Hills Hotels & Resorts. It is also the host, promoter and underwriter of several high-profile golf tournaments, including the World Ladies Championship and the World Celebrity Pro-Am. The company employs approximately 14,000 people across its two operations

Niall Donnelly
Director of Marketing & Communications
International Golf & Sports
Mission Hills China
Tel: (86 755) 2802 0888 ext 38568

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