HSBC, CBS Tee Women's World Match Golf Championship

Financial services firm HSBC is sponsoring the CBS Sports presentation of the only individual match play championship in women's golf, and has pledged a winner's check of $500,000--the highest in the history of the LPGA.

The inaugural HSBC Women's World Match Play Championship will be played over the Independence Day weekend at the Hamilton Farm Golf Club in Gladstone, N.J., between June 30 and July 3, 2005.

The championship tournament was announced by Boomer Esiason, who quarterbacked the Bengals, Jets and Cardinals during a 14-year NFL career, and is now a studio analyst on CBS Sports.

Nearly two dozen floors above the mounds of slush below on 52nd St., Esiason teased professional golfer Laura Diaz, who achieved seven top 10 finishes on the LPGA tour in 2004, for golfers not playing in the snow. Diaz, who said she intends to compete, noted that she keeps a set of orange golf balls for such seasonal occasions.

As for the championship, the five-year deal between HSBC, tournament organizers IMG, and the LPGA includes a total annual prize fund from HSBC of $2 million. The HSBC Women's World Match Play Championship, the only official match play tournament on the LPGA schedule, will be covered live in the United States by CBS on Saturday, July 2 and Sunday, July 3 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. EST. The Golf Channel will broadcast the first two days' play. Internationally, the championship will be seen in major markets around the world, with a cumulative reach of an estimated 100 million homes.



"Golf among women is experiencing equally powerful growth, with nearly one-and-a-half million new women players taking up the game in the U.S. since the turn of the millennium," said Stephen Green, Group Chief Executive of HSBC. "We are delighted to become part of this, and we hope that by offering the highest winner's check in LPGA history, the HSBC Women's World Match Play proves an important milestone in the development of women's golf."

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