James Corrigan with a nice unleashing of misery by Giles Morgan, "group head of sponsorship" at HSBC, who sponsors the soulless $7 million WGC event this week in China.
“On one hand we are delighted to have 13 of the world’s top 20 here, but of course we’re disappointed not to have the two top players in the world,” said Morgan. “Both have sent me apologies but this is an event which should be regarded by all players as it is by the tours and the media as one of the top events in the world.
Well that was thoughtful of them!
This next part was interesting. Especially if you set it to some particularly depressing Schubert's Ave Maria.
“Therefore I feel strongly that the top players should be here. I believe that golfers have a responsibility to their sponsors. Without the sponsors there isn’t professional golf. I speak on behalf of the industry.”
Speaking of thoughtful...
Morgan has been contacted by other sponsors who share his concerns that they will not be able to justify the huge outlays without the top names. “I feel very strongly, as I know a number of sponsors do particularly, in a downturn, particularly when there are financial difficulties around the world, that golf cannot be immune either,” he said.
I hate to break it to the sponsors, but with Commissioner Growth Is My Mantra's "calendar year" schedule, no downtime, and plenty of folks willing to pay appearance fees, the stars will not play more less and will gear their schedule around who pays. I think they call this market forces, no?