European Tour adds BMW Masters in Shanghai to schedule

Rory McIlroy

The tournament with the richest first prize in golf last year is joining the European Tour calendar for 2012.

Rory McIlroy took the £1.24m prize when he won the 2011 Shanghai Masters.

Last year's maiden event was not sanctioned by a major tour but it has been rebranded as the BMW Masters and added to the European Tour.

McIlroy, who beat Anthony Kim in a play-off, said he was looking forward to defending his title, adding "the tournament will be one of the best".

The event will take place at Lake Malaran, Shanghai, from 25-28 October with a field of 78 competing for total prize money of £4.3m.

It will be played the week before the WGC-HSBC Champions, which this year has been switched from Sheshan near Shanghai to Mission Hills in Shenzhen.

Open champion Darren Clarke, who is en route to South Korea for this week's Ballantine's Championship, helped to launch the event at the Beijing Auto Show.

The BMW Masters bring the total number of tournaments on the 2012 Race to Dubai to 47, and will be one of three on mainland China this year.