New China event for Euro Tour
McIlroy relishing return to Shanghai for BMW Masters
Last Updated: 23/04/12 12:48pm
Rory McIlroy: Displaying the huge cheque he won last year in Shanghai
The European Tour will play host to a new £4.3million event in China later this year - the BMW Masters in Shanghai.
The event at Lake Malaren in Shanghai (previously known as the Shanghai Masters) was where Rory McIlroy landed the biggest prize in golf last October when he pocketed £1.24million after beating Anthony Kim in a play-off.
It had no official status back then but this year's event will be part of the European Tour calendar.
A total of 78 players will contest the tournament on October 25-28 and McIlroy is relishing the return to Shanghai.
The world number one said: "I am already looking forward to teeing off.
"Thanks to the involvement of BMW, the tournament will now be one of the very best events in the world.
"That obviously makes it all the more exciting to defend my title there."
Exploding golden ball
Open champion Darren Clarke helped to launch the event during the Beijing Auto Show in the Chinese capital on Monday, teeing off from the BMW exhibition stand using an exploding golden ball.
Clarke, en route to South Korea for this week's Ballantine's Championship, was the last man to win the BMW Asian Open in 2008.
The tournament will come the week before the WGC-HSBC Champions, which this year switched from Sheshan near Shanghai to Mission Hills in Shenzhen.
European Tour chief executive George O'Grady said: "We are proud of many partnerships we enjoy across the world of golf, but one of the most enduring is with BMW.
"This tournament represents the third title sponsorship on the tour in 2012 and the 45th in total over the past 23 years.