Sparkling Mission Hills Star Trophy Spotlights Hainan

An eclectic melange of global glitterati have convened in Haikou, China for The Mission Hills Star Trophy. 

The celebrity golf pro-am tournament will run from today through Oct. 31,  and involves 20 professional golfers along with 20 celebrities and 120 amateurs.  It's part of a government-led initiative to make the Hainan island a leading international tourism destination in the coming years, and judging from the brilliant constellation of international superstars now navigating the fairways of newly launched Mission Hills Resort Hainan, interest in this once mysterious region of China is huge. International exposure from the Mission Hills Star Trophy will be correspondingly massive.

Golf's most astute two-time-Open-Championship-winner-slash-businessman, Greg Norman is a HostAmbassador for the event along with China's multiple gold medal-winning gymnast Li Ningand Japan’s ultra-popular television star, Akashiya Sanma. 

Celebrity participants include reformed frat boy Olympic gold medalist, Michael Phelps, actors Mathew McConaughey, Hugh Grant, Christian Slater, Michael Wong and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Additionally, among numerous others cast of Ryder Cup Captains, major champions and golf icons will be among the professional golfers competing in the pro event for the $1.28 million first prize, including Colin Montgomerie, Nick Faldo, Annika Sorenstam, Lorena Ochoa, Seri-Pak, Danny Lee and Zhang-Lian Wei to mention just a few.

The format sounds ultra-compelling: Amateur teams of three play with a celebrity or professional golfer on the first two days of the event in a team scramble format. The weekend play will then be in four-ball stroke play format between 20 teams consisting of a celebrity and a professional, with a 36-hole individual professional event running concurrently on the Blackstone Course.
The Mission Hills Star Trophy is huge, and illustrates the rapid emergence of China as an international stage for major sporting and lifestyle events.  ~ We'll keep you updated on the action in Haikou as the weekend progresses. 

October 27, 2010 - Photos by Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images AsiaPac