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Media Circus Descends on Mission Hills
This fle photo shows that Korean duo Inbee Park (left) and So Yeon Ryu (right) are pictured with Mission Hills Group Vice Chairman Tenniel Chu after winning the team event in the World Ladies Championship held at Mission Hills Haikou in China in 2014. Photograph by Paul Lakatos for Mission Hills

Shenzhen, China — Mission Hills has once more found itself thrust into the global media spotlight this week. Literally.

As the venue and host for the fifth edition of the World Ladies Championship, the facilities at Mission Hills’ sprawling Dongguan complex are receiving widespread international exposure.

For not only is Mission Hills the playground for 126 talented female golfers from no fewer than 20 nations, but also the world’s largest golfing facility is welcoming more than 500 golfing media.

“Apart from the Major championships and the Solheim Cup this is the most number of media we have at any of our events,” said Bethan Cutler, long-time Media Manager at the Ladies European Tour (LET).

“It was incredible to see how many media attended the pre-event press conference and the opening ceremony.”

In addition to writers from newspapers and golf magazines, there is a large presence representing the electronic and digital media, many dozens of scribes filing regular tournament (and weather) updates for websites and via social media.

There are also specialist golfing photographers, snapping the smooth swings of the girls and the spectacular landscape of the acclaimed Olazabal Course, distinguished by its gently rolling fairways and greens, water hazards … and the 161 bunkers that dot the creation of the great Spanish sand escapologist, Jose Maria Olazabal.

On top of that there is the not inconsiderable matter of television with commentators from a variety of television networks on site, putting words to the pictures that are being beamed around the globe.

A daily highlights package is being broadcast in almost 80 countries with a reach of more than 615 million households. This includes Fox Sports coverage in Australia and the Asia Pacific region.

Additionally, the final two rounds will be screened live on Sky Sports in the United Kingdom, the Golf Channel in the United States, Canada, France and Thailand and CCTV5+ in China.

In addition to the LET, the unique four-day event – which includes three separate elements and boasts an increased prize purse this year of US$800,000 – is also sanctioned by the China LPGA and, for the first time, the Korean LPGA.

As with the LET, the World Ladies Championship is one of the highlights on the 2016 schedule for both the China LPGA and Korean LPGA.

Luella Ho, TV and Marketing Manager for the China LPGA, said: “We have around 17 events for this year and the World Ladies Championship is one of six that will have live television.”

Lim Jung-soo, the Korean LPGA’s Media Officer, said good television viewership figures on SBS are expected this week, given that there’s such a strong Korean contingent in the field and also because past winners of the World Ladies Championship include luminaries Park In-bee and Ryu So-yeon.

“If you compare with the men, there is more interest in Korea about the women professionals,” said Lim.

In terms of the logistics of hosting so many media, a large portion of the second floor of the gigantic clubhouse at Mission Hills Dongguan has been set aside.

Justine Moss, a golf writer for the Business Times in Singapore and a veteran of dozens of golf events around the region, said: “It’s always an impressive set-up for the media at Mission Hills. When you’re on tight deadlines, it’s reassuring to know that everything runs smoothly.”

Tenniel Chu, Vice Chairman of Mission Hills group said: “Holding a tournament of the scale of the World Ladies Championship is a major media operation. But this is nothing new to us at Mission Hills.

“We have the experience of having staged more than 100 professional tournaments and we have the infrastructure to make sure we cater to the needs of all members of media.”

The World Ladies Championship continues its long-standing partnership with the world’s leading renowned global services brand, American Express.

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