Mercedes widens golf commitment with entry to China series
Mercedes-Benz, the German car giant, has expanded its already significant presence in international golf by becoming a sponsor of the PGA Tour Series-China.
Under the deal announced today, Mercedes becomes the official automobile of the series, which is overseen by US golf’s PGA Tour.
The company will begin its activation at the Kunming Championship, the sixth event of the season, taking place at the Yulongwan Golf Club in Yunnan province from tomorrow until Sunday.
The deal was concluded with the involvement of Shankai Golf, an arm of Shankai Sports, the Chinese sports marketing agency.
Mercedes is a familiar sight at elite golf events, as a result of its sponsorship of three of the four majors – The Masters, British Open and US PGA Championship – and the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions tournament held in Shanghai.
It also gives its name to the Mercedes Trophy, the worldwide amateur golf competition, which was introduced in China in 2003.
In 2015, Mercedes launched the Star of the Future junior golf training camp, which has developed into one of China’s leading youth programmes.
Mercedes brand ambassadors in the golfing world include leading PGA Tour players in USA’s Rickie Fowler and Spain’s Jon Rahm.
The PGA Tour established the Chinese series in 2014 as its third international development tour following PGA Tour Latinoamerica and the Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada, as it sought to capitalise on the potential of golf in the world’s most populous country, and events and prize money have increased in the years since.
Players that have progressed from the series to the PGA Tour’s second-tier Web.com Tour and to the elite PGA Tour itself have included China’s Zecheng Dou and Xinjun Zhang.
Raymond Roessel, the chief executive of Shankai Golf, said: “The PGA TOUR Series-China’s partnership with Mercedes-Benz is an exciting opportunity for both parties. There’s a lot of synergy between us as we seek to continue to grow a Tour that provides the only path to the Web.com Tour outside of the Americas.
“Mercedes-Benz is a fantastic supporter of golf in China. The new association with Mercedes-Benz takes the Tour to another level, and we’re delighted to work with such world-class, premium brands.”