The European Tour will once again break new ground this week when the Omega Hong Kong Open features on The European Tour International Schedule for the first time.
A fixture on the Asian golfing circuit since 1959, the US$700,000 tournament will be staged at the Hong Kong Golf Club on its Composite Course, a combination of the best holes from the club’s New and Eden Courses.
Co-sanctioned between The European Tour and the Davidoff Tour, the field will comprise a split of players from each and while it will be the closing event of the 2001 Davidoff Tour season, it will serve as the second counting event towards the 2002 Volvo Order of Merit after last week’s BMW Asian Open in Taiwan.
A truly international field will be led by two-time Masters champion José Maria Olazábal and also in the line up will be several players who competed for their countries in the recent World Golf Championships - EMC² World Cup in Japan, including Michael Campbell of New Zealand, Thomas Levet of France, Paul McGinley of Ireland and Australia’s Adam Scott.
For Campbell in particular the return to Asia will evoke fond memories of his maiden European Tour success in the 2000 Johnnie Walker Classic at the Westin Resort, Ta Shee, Taiwan when he held off players of the calibre of Ernie Els and Vijay Singh to triumph.
“It will be my first appearance in the Omega Hong Kong Open and I’m very much looking forward to it,” said Campbell who, along with partner David Smail finished joint runners-up in the WGC-EMC² World Cup.
“I always seem to enjoy the atmosphere in Asia as the crowds are always enthusiastic. After winning in Taiwan, I felt my game moved up to the next level.”
Another player in the starting line-up will be England’s Simon Dyson who won the tournament last year, his third victory of the season in Asia, on his way to topping the Davidoff Tour Order of Merit.
Omega, who also sponsor the European Masters at Crans-sur-Sierre, sponsored the Omega Hong Kong Open for the first time last year and announced they will be the principal tournament backers for the next three years as well.
“It is wonderful news for the Hong Kong Open that a sponsor of Omega’s stature has chosen to continue its association with our event for three more years,” said Eric White, President of the Hong Kong Golf Association.
“Omega title sponsored our Association’s flagship event for the first time last year and we were delighted with what proved to be one of our finest ever championships. I am sure this year’s event will continue in a similar vein.”
The Omega Hong Kong Open will be promoted by Hong Kong Golf Promotions for the second successive year. The tournament will be broadcast live on CNBC Sports in Asia and Europe and across many other global networks.