Iverson Joins Stars From Sport And Entertainment In Hailing Huge Success Of World Celebrity Pro-Am In China
NBA superstar Allen Iverson described the 2016 World Celebrity Pro-Am in China as something he will cherish for the rest of his life, as the curtain came down on another week of golf and glamour at Mission Hills resort on the tropical island of Hainan.
“It was fun man, I had a great time all weekend, it was beautiful,” said the Basketball Hall of Famer at the conclusion of the World Celebrity Pro-Am in the city of Haikou. “I would love to come back, but with my family. The experience was so great that I wanted my family to be a part of something like this. I will cherish and remember this for the rest of my life.”
With legends from golf, entertainment and sport in attendance at the star-studded extravaganza, Oscar winnerMichael Douglas, whose movie-star wife Catherine Zeta-Jones competed in the 2010 edition, commented: “This was a treat, what they have done with the golf course here, this is just a stunning job.”
Ex-football idol Dwight Yorke said: “For a golf addict like me to come and play at Mission Hills, it was like a dream come true.”
Yorke’s former teammate at Manchester United Paul Scholes added: “I was nervous as hell out there. It gets the adrenalin going again and gives you that nervous energy that you miss after [retiring from] football. To have that back, only for a couple of days, was great.”
Another famous footballer Luis Garcia was inspired to play more golf with past Liverpool teammates Robbie Fowler and Gary McAllister, who were also competing at Mission Hills: “I enjoyed this very much and would love to come back. I’m pretty new to golf but will be spending more time in England so hope to play again with Robbie and Gary.”
Six-time Grand Slam champion Boris Becker described his respect for his playing partner, two-time Major champion Mark O’Meara. “You think you know how to play golf then you play with a legend and it puts golf into perspective,” said Becker, who coaches world number one tennis player Novak Djokovic. “It’s been a great two days and a great experience for me.”
O’Meara described his admiration for fellow Golf Hall of Famer Gary Player. “Gary and I were sharing stories on Mr. [Ben] Hogan. I told him how much I appreciate what Gary Player has meant to me in my life and to the game,” said O’Meara of the nine-time Major winner. “It’s always great to be here in China and I thank the Chu family for their great hospitality.”
At the closing ceremony, Tenniel Chu of Mission Hills Group declared the fourth edition of the World Celebrity Pro-Am as the “biggest and best” yet. “Our common purpose this week was to bring the world to China; and China to the world through golf,” said the Vice-Chairman.
Chu was also upbeat about the legacy of the tournament which was screened to more than 200 countries worldwide: “Whether it was the fans here at Mission Hills Haikou, or those watching at home, I hope they are inspired to take up golf, because that is what the World Celebrity Pro-Am is all about, bringing golf to a new audience and allowing everyone to share in this great game.”
A total of nine professional golfers were competing over two rounds of individual stableford for the US$ 1 millionMission Hills World Celebrity Pro-Am – with US$250,000 going to the winner, local favourite Li Hao-tong of China.
This year’s impressive line-up of golfing greats also included John Daly, Rich Beem, Paula Creamer, Suzann Pettersen and Anna Nordqvist – all Major winners – plus LPGA star Natalie Gulbis.
Hollywood legends Douglas and Jeremy Renner were part of a galaxy of stars playing alongside the elite golfers in a separate bid for the celebrity title, which was won by Chinese actor Man Wen-jun.
Icons from the world of sport included Becker, Iverson and another basketball legend, Yao Ming of China. They were joined by a host of footballing icons which also included Manchester United stars Paul Scholes, Lee Sharpeand David May.
The biennial Mission Hills World Celebrity Pro-Am was established in 2010 as Asia’s first and only pro-celebrity golf tournament. This sporting and entertainment extravaganza – which reaches more than 26 television channels in Greater China and over 200 countries worldwide – aims to popularise golf in China whilst also promotingHainan Island as a tourist destination and supporting local charities. Proceeds are being donated to The Nature Conservancy and the Hainan United Youth Association.
The World Celebrity Pro-Am continued its long-standing partnership with some of the world’s leading brands, including global services company, American Express; sophisticated Belgian beer, Stella Artois; luxury car brand, Lexus; leading premium bottled mineral water, Tibet 5100; and world renowned Swiss chocolate, LINDT.