Europe’s victorious 2012 Ryder Cup Captain José María Olazábal has confirmed he will play in next month’s UBS Hong Kong Open, where he will be joined by defending champion Rory McIlroy and Paul Lawrie, both members of his magnificent team, and Miguel Angel Jiménez, who was a Vice Captain at Medinah Country Club.
The triumphant quartet have turned their attentions back to The Race to Dubai after winning what was arguably the greatest Ryder Cup in history, producing a miraculous comeback on the final day to snatch victory from the Americans’ hands.
Lawrie, who defeated American Brandt Snedeker in the Sunday Singles, said: “I always look forward to the Hong Kong Open, it’s a great tournament in a fantastic city, so it’s a fun week on and off the course. My record in the event isn’t quite as good as I would like, but the way I’ve been playing this year I feel very confident of giving a good account of myself.”
With Matt Kuchar, who won two points from three for the USA team, also in attendance, the UBS Hong Kong Open will boast a star-studded field for the penultimate event of the 2012 season, where a US$2million prize fund is on offer. The championship is sanctioned by The European Tour, Asian Tour and Hong Kong Golf Association.
Kuchar has won four times on the US PGA Tour, including at The Players Championship this year, and the World Number 13 will go in search of his maiden European Tour title when he makes his debut in Fanling next month.
He said: “I’m very excited about making my debut at the Hong Kong Open, I’ve heard a lot of good things about the tournament and the city, so I look forward to finding out for myself what all the buzz is about. The strength of the field is impressive and Rory’s record in the tournament is even more impressive, so it’s going to be tough to win my first European Tour title but I’m certainly going to give it my best shot.”
Ms Kathryn Shih, CEO UBS Wealth Management Asia Pacific, commented on the star-studded field for this year’s UBS Hong Kong Open saying, “UBS is delighted to welcome members of the Ryder Cup squads from both sides of the Atlantic to the UBS Hong Kong Open in 2012.
“European stars like Rory McIlroy, José María Olazábal, Paul Lawrie and Miguel Angel Jiménez have long been favourites of the galleries in Hong Kong, while Matt Kuchar making his debut at the UBS Hong Kong Open this year will only add to the excitement. It was a thrilling Ryder Cup and I am confident that golf enthusiasts from Hong Kong and around the region will be keen to show their appreciation for these players in person next month.”
Funding from the Mega Events Fund (MEF) has helped bring the world’s leading players to the UBS Hong Kong Open from November 15-18, and their presence will significantly boost the profile of the tournament as a major sporting event. The star names will not only support the promotion of the tournament, but will help promote Hong Kong as a tourist destination and engage with the local community.
“The MEF funding will also be used to facilitate other additional activities for Hong Kong, such as photo shoots with players at the city’s iconic landmarks, a golf clinic for local school children and to support the Urban Golf Challenge, a specially-created par three hole in the centre of Hong Kong which the top players will attempt to master,” said Mr Jeffrey Lam, Chairman of the Mega Events Fund Assessment Committee.
‘Golf in the City’ is another beneficiary of the funding, an initiative to drive public awareness of the tournament.
Held at Chater Garden from November 5-9 between 11am and 8pm, ‘Golf in the City’ will comprise four zones where budding golfers can test their putting and chipping skills, take on Fanling’s famous 12th hole in a simulator and have their photos taken with the UBS Hong Kong Open trophy. It is free to take part, and school programmes will be arranged to encourage students’ participation.