Star-stud­ded Gath­er­ing

AN IN­TER­NA­TIONAL CAST OF GOLF­ING GREATS AND CELEBRI­TIES IS HEAD­ING TO HAINAN IS­LAND FOR THE MIS­SION HILLS WORLD CELEBRITY PRO-AM TOUR­NA­MENT

Hong Kong Tatler - - Tatler Focus Mission Hills -

Ex­cite­ment is build­ing as China pre­pares to stage the sports and en­ter­tain­ment spec­tac­u­lar of the year at the Mis­sion Hills Haikou golf com­plex in Hainan Is­land.

A galaxy of Hol­ly­wood su­per­stars, sport­ing leg­ends and golf­ing greats is set to at­tend the Mis­sion Hills World Celebrity Pro-am tour­na­ment, which will be broad­cast around the world.

The guest list for the ea­gerly awaited week of golf, glam­our and gala events in­clude Os­car win­ners Ni­cole Kid­man and Mor­gan Free­man, Hol­ly­wood stars Chris Evans and Jessica Alba, and best­selling record­ing artist Kenny G.

The jazz sax­o­phon­ist, who has sold more than 75 mil­lion records, is a fa­nat­i­cal golfer who once got his hand­i­cap down to plus-0.6 and played a Na­tion­wide Tour event on a spon­sor’s ex­emp­tion.

“Aside from mu­sic, golf is my other pas­sion and so I’m thrilled to be in­vited to China to take part in the Mis­sion Hills World

Celebrity Pro-am,” he said. “It will be an hon­our to play along­side some of the true leg­ends of the game and I an­tic­i­pate a mem­o­rable tour­na­ment.”

China’s bas­ket­ball legend and for­mer US Na­tional Bas­ket­ball As­so­ci­a­tion star Yao Ming will take part in the tour­na­ment for the sec­ond time. One of China’s most in­flu­en­tial sport­ing fig­ures, the re­tired ath­lete’s re­turn to Mis­sion Hills is ex­pected to fur­ther raise the pro­file of golf in main­land China.

At a press con­fer­ence hosted by Mis­sion Hills Haikou’s sis­ter golf­ing com­plex in Dong­guan, Guang­dong, Yao had a few shots at a hoop set up next to the 18th green.

“My goal for this year is to im­prove my golf skills to reach a new level,” he says. “I have less than two months to prac­tice but I will work hard and try my best.”

Yao said he hoped to have the chance to play with Mor­gan Free­man when the starstud­ded event gets un­der way. “I know Mor­gan Free­man plays golf very well and he is my idol. It would be fan­tas­tic to be paired with him,” he says.

Chi­nese mu­sic icon Jay Chou, who has sold an es­ti­mated 30 mil­lion al­bums in the course of his ca­reer, and mar­tial arts movie star Don­nie Yen have been named of­fi­cial am­bas­sadors for the World Celebrity Pro-am and will per­form key roles in the open­ing cer­e­mony.

Other sport­ing icons head­ing to the tour­na­ment in­clude two Olympic leg­ends – Rus­sian ice skater Ev­geni Plushenko and Chi­nese gym­nast Li Ning.

“The aim of the Mis­sion Hills World Celebrity ProAm is to bring to­gether all the su­per­stars and fa­mous per­son­al­i­ties to pro­mote and pop­u­larise the game of golf here in China,” says Mis­sion Hills Group chair­man and CEO Dr Ken Chu.

“This event po­si­tions China on the world map of golf and showcases Mis­sion Hills and the coun­try as a whole as a must-visit des­ti­na­tion for trav­ellers, whether they are golfers or not.”

Top golfers tak­ing part in­clude two of the greats play­ing in this year’s Ry­der Cup, the flam­boy­ant Ian Poul­ter and 2013 US Open cham­pion Justin Rose, as well as their Team Europe cap­tain Paul Mcgin­ley.

They will be joined by nine-times Ma­jor cham­pion Gary Player, mul­ti­ple Ma­jor win­ners Greg Nor­man and John Daly, for­mer Open Cham­pi­onship win­ner Dar­ren Clarke, ex-masters cham­pion Ian Woos­nam, and Rich Beem, who was vic­to­ri­ous in the PGA Cham­pi­onship.

Women’s world no. 4 Suzann Pet­tersen is the lat­est big-name golfer to join the line-up. The Nor­we­gian golf­ing ace says she rel­ishes the prospect of re­turn­ing to a re­sort where she has en­joyed suc­cess in the past.

“I have fan­tas­tic mem­o­ries of Mis­sion Hills Haikou after win­ning the 2013 World Ladies Cham­pi­onship there and then fin­ish­ing run­ner-up this year,” she said.

“The re­sort is in­cred­i­ble and the Black­stone Course, where we will be play­ing the World Celebrity Pro-am, is one of the best I have ex­pe­ri­enced in my ca­reer.

“I’m look­ing for­ward to mix­ing with the movie and sports celebri­ties as well as some of the greats of men’s golf. While the at­mos­phere will be re­laxed and fun, fans can rest as­sured we will be tak­ing the golf very se­ri­ously in­deed.”

The third edi­tion of the World Celebrity Pro-am will be held from Oc­to­ber 24-26 at the in­te­grated re­sort. A to­tal of 24 pro­fes­sional golfers and 24 celebri­ties will join the event, which in­cludes a demon­stra­tion of the new com­bi­na­tion sport, foot­ball golf.

Also set to rep­re­sent China’s en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try at the event are movie legend Feng Xiao­gang, ac­tors Chen Daom­ing and Wang Zhi­wen, and singer Sun Nan.

Hong Kong celebri­ties tak­ing part in­clude ac­tors Eric Tsang, Natalis Chan and Michael Wong, and ac­tress Miriam Ye­ung. Three of Korea’s big­gest en­ter­tain­ment stars, ac­tress Gianna Jun and singers Rain and Lyn, are also due to ap­pear.

The Mis­sion Hills World Celebrity Pro-am is spon­sored by Amer­i­can Ex­press, Porsche, Stella Ar­tois, Ti­bet 5100, Kohler, Lindt, San Pel­le­grino and Appletiser.

Bas­ket­ball legend Yao Ming will par­tic­i­pate in the tour­na­ment for the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive year

Chris Evans, Kenny G, Jessica Alba and Mor­gan Free­man are among the celebri­ties who will be at­tend­ing the tour­na­ment

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