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Golf: China Champions event elevated to full WGC status - Finchem

Louis Oosthuizen (R) of South Africa hits on the 18th fairway in front of a Buddhist Guanyin statue during the third day of the WGC-HSBC Cha
Louis Oosthuizen (R) of South Africa hits on the 18th fairway in front of a Buddhist Guanyin statue during the third day of the WGC-HSBC Cha

SHENZHEN, China (Reuters) - The HSBC-WGC Champions tournament in China will be elevated to full World Golf Championships status from 2013, the U.S. PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem has said, while prize money will increase to $8.5 million.

The event, held in China since 2005, had been given WGC status in 2009 but was below the level of the Cadillac, Accenture and Bridgestone Invitational events, all of which are held in the United States.

Finchem, however, said the event would be afforded the same status as the other three events from 2013, though because it will be played in November, the FedEx Cup points will count for the 2014 season.

Next year's winner would also receive a three-year exemption to play on the U.S. Tour and the tournament will carry a 10 per cent premium in Cup points like the other three WGC tournaments.

Finchem added in a media conference at Mission Hills on Sunday that future events will not be allowed to authorize appearance fees, in line with PGA Tour rules.

The event will also move back to the Sheshan International Club in Shanghai for the next three years.

(Editing by Greg Stutchbury)

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