Nick Mulvenney talks to Mission Hills' David Chu about the World Cup and the resort. Chu is one of the founders of the massive resort, which aspires to be the Augusta of China. Really...
The Mission Hills Golf Club is hoping to become synonymous with the World Cup by building up a tradition like that surrounding the U.S. Masters and its Augusta National venue.And some of them have even been there!
The World Cup has already had a varied history since Canadian industrialist John Hopkins founded it as "an Olympiad of golf" in 1953 but its home for the next dozen years will be the $650-million complex hewn out of the hills of southern China.
Since the first 18 holes were completed in 1994, 11 more international standard courses have been built in the resort with a list of designers that reads like a "Who's Who" of international golf -- Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo, Greg Norman, Ernie Els, Vijay Singh, David Duval.
However, it was the heavily bunkered Olazabal course that hosted the 53rd World Cup at the weekend and that is where it is likely to stay for the forseeable future, according to Tenniel Chu, son of the founding father of Mission Hills, Dr David Chu.
"We have the luxury to play on a different course each year but at the same time, what we want to try and create is somewhat similar to what Augusta has done," the resort's executive director told Reuters in an interview.
"Every year, same course, same venue, same time. For the audience watching around the world, they will grow familiar with it and become emotionally attached to it."
"But I think as the game is growing here, there is more interest in coming to China. The next frontier for players is to come and showcase themselves is Asia.
"They've more or less hit the ceiling in Europe and North America. And in areas like sponsorship or course design, China is definitely top of the list.
"And if it's not top of the list for the players, it is for their managers," he laughed.