Watson headlines Shenzhen International

Two-time Masters winner Bubba Watson will return to China later this year for the inaugural Shenzhen International.

The world number two returns to the country for the first time since winning last year's WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai, where he lifted the trophy following a play-off with Tim Clark.

The left-hander will be back in Shanghai to defend his title between April 16 and 19, just one week after his title defense at Augusta National.

Five months later, the American will be making his first appearance in the European Tour for more than four years when he tees off at the Shenzhen International, which takes place at the Genzon Golf Club, in the Longgang district of Shenzhen.

"This is a great opportunity for me to come back to China and play in a new event, which will make a big contribution to the development of golf in southern China. I'm looking forward to coming to Shenzhen next month and playing my part in making some history," Watson told the European Tour's official website.

"I finished third in the WGC Cadillac Championship and my season's got off to a pretty solid start overall, but I'm still looking for my first win in 2015. I'll be doing my best to make it a hat-trick of wins at the Masters, but back-to-back victories in China would be pretty special too."
Watson has become one of the most recognisable names in the game and has four other victories on the PGA Tour outside of his WGC-HSBC Champions and Masters wins.

"At the launch of this tournament we made a promise that the first edition of the Shenzhen International would feature world-class players, and we have kept that promise. A two-time Masters champion and now ranked second in the world, Bubba Watson is not only a world-class golfer but someone whose appeal transcends the sport," Genzon Golf Club General Manager Fei Hai-long said.

"With his impressive driving distances, extraordinary charisma and legions of fans around the world, Bubba's participation in the tournament sends a very strong message to the international golfing community about just how serious we are about establishing the Shenzhen International as one of the region's leading elite golf tournaments. Additionally, his presence at the Shenzhen International will enable golf fans in Shenzhen, Guangdong and throughout China to witness his remarkable skills first hand, so we look forward to his arrival in Shenzhen.

"The Shenzhen International is a tournament named after its host city. One of our aims for this event is to promote the city and showcase both the growth of Shenzhen over the last 30 years and the role it plays as a window to the world in southern China. To have a star of Bubba Watson's calibre coming to our tournament will undoubtedly echo throughout China's golf industry, and draw attention to the city and its status as a world-class golf destination."

The Shenzhen International is the first of four events in China on the European Tour schedule this season, and will feature 100 players from the Tour, six sponsorship invitations and 50 players from the China Golf Association.