Up close and personal with golfing greats

When one former and two current golfing greats arrived here recently to conduct private golf clinics, they were just three in a long line of many golfing professionals who have made a trip here over the years at the invitation of various sponsors.

World number six Rory McIlroy was here a few years ago to conduct a golf clinic and golf day for sponsor Jumeirah Hotels and Resorts, while Colin "Monty" Montgomerie was the star guest at the BMW Golf Cup International World Final 2011 where he conducted a golf clinic.

Former world number one Lee Westwood, who is currently number 23 in the world, flew in on Oct 21 to conduct three clinics for HSBC Premier customers. Westwood spent the day dishing out golfing techniques and demonstrating swings to an audience of 50 golf enthusiasts who are among the bank's top-tier clients.

"It is a privilege to have Lee Westwood with us to share golfing techniques with HSBC Premier customers. This is the first time that Lee has conducted a golf clinic for HSBC in Singapore, and I know our customers, many of whom are golf enthusiasts, are absolutely delighted to meet him up close and personal," said Harmander Mahal, head of customer value management, HSBC Singapore. "On a regular basis, we host our top-tier customers to exclusive events such as investment seminars and a range of lifestyle activities. This is our way of showing appreciation for their loyalty and getting to know them better so that we can better understand and manage their wealth and banking needs."

HSBC is committed to golf in this part of the world. The seventh edition of the HSBC Women's Champions will take place in Singapore from Feb 27 to March 2 next year, with prize money of more than US$1 million. Inaugurated in 2008, the HSBC Women's Champions has consistently gathered a field of the world's best women players at every tournament. It also sponsors the US$8.5 million WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai, which was won last month by Dustin Johnson, in addition to the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship and the LPGA Brasil Cup.

On Nov 1, Tiger Woods made his third trip to Singapore in as many years, where he held an exclusive golf clinic at Marina Bay Sands. He was here at the invitation of Marina Bay Sands for its corporate social responsibility initiative, Sands for Singapore. Around 30 young golf enthusiasts from the Singapore Sports School, Golf Academy and the Dyslexia Association of Singapore had the opportunity to learn from the world number one as well as watch him hit some shots in a custom-made golf course and a golf simulator at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre. He also attended a reception for MBS invited guests.

"It is an honour to have Woods here to support our corporate social responsibility initiatives. Through events of this nature, we hope to imbibe invaluable experiences that our youth will take with them into the future," said MBS president and CEO George Tanasijevich.

On the same day, Nick Faldo was in town for the MasterCard Legends Academy, which was held in Singapore for the first time. The six-time Major champion, nine-time PGA Tour winner and 30-time European Tour winner is MasterCard's newest sponsorship ambassador for golf. He joins the company's roster of golf ambassadors, which include Ian Poulter, Graeme McDowell, Camilo Villegas, Boo Weekley, Brandt Snedeker, Harris English and Tom Watson.

The MasterCard Legends Academy is a programme that allows MasterCard cardholders to purchase a spot to learn from and interact with golfing great Faldo. MasterCard hosted Asia's first MasterCard Legends Academy in Japan in April 2013. This was followed by two in Beijing and Shanghai in October before Singapore, which is the first country in South-east Asia to host the programme.

"Golf continues to be a passion for our cardholders and the addition of Sir Nick Faldo to the roster of brand ambassadors represents a crown jewel in our campaign," said Alfredo Gangotena, chief marketing officer at MasterCard Worldwide.

It was a full day's worth of golfing activities at Sentosa Golf Club, which included a golf clinic, club fitting, "beat the pro" segment where players had the opportunity to challenge Faldo on the par-3 second hole, an 18-hole game on the Serapong course, a Q&A session with the legendary player as well as lunch and dinner.


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