BMW Masters joins European tour

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The PGA Tour's tournament in Malaysia was trumped last year by a special event called the Shanghai Masters, which offered a $5 million purse with $2 million to the winner. It attracted a strong field, including Hunter Mahan and Jim Furyk from the PGA Tour, and Rory McIlroy wound up beating Anthony Kim in a playoff.

Now it's an official tournament on the European Tour.

It will be called the BMW Masters, played Oct. 25-28 at Lake Malaren in Shanghai and offering a $7 million purse for the 78-man field. It again will be held opposite the Asia Pacific Classic in Malaysia, which last year featured a $6.1 million purse but does not count as an official win on the tour.

The HSBC Champions will be the following week, moving this year from Shanghai to Mission Hills in Shenzhen.

"I'm already looking forward to tee off," McIlroy said. "Thanks to the involvement of BMW, the tournament will now be one of the very best events in the world. That obviously makes it all the more exciting to defend my title there."

It will be the fourth tournament sponsored by BMW -- three on the European Tour, one in America.