Our man on the ground at the Hong Kong Golf Club takes you behind the scenes of the UBS Hong Kong Open…
Cambo leaves his hat on
Hong Kong Golf Club is one of Asia’s most historic clubs, dating back to the late 19th century. As such, it is steeped in tradition, with old school values still very much to the fore. Michael Campbell discovered the rules and regulations are rigorously enforced when he was politely but firmly asked to remove his cap indoors. As most golfers are surgically attached to their hats, Campbell might’ve felt naked without one but, ever the gentleman, the 2005 US Open Champion was only too happy to oblige by the local rules.
McIlroy amongst the medals again
Not content with winning The Race to Dubai, Rory McIlroy collected more silverware on Wednesday when his team won the morning Pro-Am ahead of the UBS Hong Kong Open. McIlroy led his UBS team to glory on 20 under par, two shots clear of Spaniard José Manuel Lara and American Matt Kuchar. The Race to Dubai champion will now be hoping to continue in a similar vein once the tournaments gets underway on Thursday, when he will be paired with the Barclays Singapore Open champion Matteo Manassero and their fellow European Tour winner Liang Wen-chong. For once, the World Number One will have to defer to the achievements of one of playing partners, as Manassero has now won three European Tour titles as a teenager, whilst McIlroy had just one trophy in the cabinet – the Omega Dubai Desert Classic – at the same age. Is it just me, or are these golfers getting younger and younger?!
What is perhaps even more impressive than Signor Manassero’s precocity on the course is the maturity he shows away from it. ‘Manny’ is the antithesis of most stroppy teenagers, as he visited the media centre on Wednesday afternoon, generously giving his time to air his considered thoughts on his prospects of achieving back to back victories this week. As soon as he was done, he hopped in a car to head off to a local school to join John Daly and Miguel Angel Jimenez in conducting a junior clinic for up to 150 school pupils. It was Manassero’s second piece of promotional work this week, having stepped in for a photocall at a local temple after Paul Lawrie’s flight was delayed on Monday. Some sportsmen give up their (admittedly valuable) time only grudgingly, but this gentleman from Verona certainly isn’t one of them.