Charl Schwartzel will compete in the inaugural Lake Malaren Masters tournament in Shanghai this week, but the $5-million event is unsanctioned and offers no World Ranking points.
The tournament at Lake Malaren Golf Course begins on Thursday and Schwartzel will face serious competition from, among others, Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy, Keegan Bradley and Padraig Harrington.
Yet there has been much criticism of the event, which is not sanctioned by any PGA affiliated tour and has been titled as a Âvanity tournamentÂ by Kyi Hla Han, the Asian TourÂs executive chairman.
“Players need a structured organisation that looks after their best interests. I just don’t think exhibition tournaments like the Lake Malaren event helps the players develop,” said Han, a former professional from Myanmar.
The tournament does facilitate acclimatization for many entrants of the WGC-HSBC Champions event, which is held from the fourth to the seventh November in Shanghai.
But the star-studded field has been enticed not only by the location of the event: there is no cut, an appearance fee is awarded to each player, first-place earns a bonus of US$2-million, and last place takes home a cool US$25,000.
Yet it stands to reason that an extra week within the timezone and the reduced pressure to perform make the event an attractive break from the usual intensity faced by professionals.
Schwartzel, currently 14th in the World Rankings, has progressively slipped from the top 10 during the past three months. With no World Ranking points available this week, the 27-year-old must use the time to prepare well for the upcoming WGC tournament.
With his Masters win and consistent strong form on either side of the pond, Schwartzel now faces Asia with extra time to plan and prepare for resurgence into the top 10.