Big-hitting Australian Scott Hend has confirmed he will defend the Venetian Macau Open title he won in emphatic style last year. That victory was his fifth Asian Tour title and completed a hat-trick of wins in 2013 which propelled him to second place on the Asian Tour Order of Merit.
“Last year was something of a stellar year for me with three wins across the season,” said Hend. “The Venetian Macau Open was probably the highlight as I managed to hold off Ernie Els and a good field to win by three shots. I started terribly with a 74 but came back strongly with three low rounds to win it.
“I’m really looking forward to defending the title. The Venetian Macau Open is such a great event in such a great city and the players love it. Hence you always get a strong Asian Tour field so it’s a good battle over a challenging course,” concluded Hend.
Asian golf received further good news with the announcement that this year’s Venetian Macau Open will boast the highest prize purse in the storied history of the event. Sponsored by The Venetian® Macao-Resort-Hotel for the third year in succession, the field will compete for US$900,000, a 12.5% increase on last year’s purse.
Officials have also confirmed the dates for the 16th Macau Open where the hugely popular tournament will be played from October 23-26 over the magnificent Macau Golf & Country Club, a course that contains one of the most spectacular par threes on the Asian Tour, a 238 yard hole that plunges 140m from tee to green.
Jose Tavares, President of the Macau Sport Development Board (MSDB), co-organisers of the event along with the Golf Association of Macau, commented: “Everyone involved in the tournament is delighted with the continued growth of the Venetian Macau Open and we’re honoured that such a prestigious and supportive sponsor is once again involved. The event is going from strength to strength with prize money increasing year on year which in turn attracts an ever more competitive field.
“We are now firmly established as one of the leading sporting and social events in the annual Macau calendar, showcasing Macau’s world-class event hosting capability to audiences across the globe.”
Mr. Charles Lo, President of the Golf Association of Macau added: “We have had a long-term and wonderful working relationship with the MSDB over this tournament and we hope to continue this for many years and to carry on showcasing to the world how Macau can play host to a top class international golf tournament.”
Edward Tracy, President and Chief Executive Officer of Sands China Ltd. commented: “This year is the third consecutive year of The Venetian Macao’s sponsorship of the Macau Open and we’re thrilled to be involved with one of Macau’s premier events once again. The Venetian Macao provides wonderful experiences for our guests and the Venetian Macau Open is an extension of that. Our partnership with MSDB and the Macau Golf Association continues to blossom and we’re looking forward to another fantastic tournament this year.”
The tournament has rapidly re-established itself as a popular stop on the Asian Tour schedule, a point reiterated by Asian Tour Chairman, Kyi Hla Han: “With the generous sponsorship of The Venetian Macao and the hard work of the MSDB, Golf Association of Macau and promoters IMG, the Macau Open is now back to where it belongs, as a prestigious and eagerly anticipated event on the Asian Tour. Macau is a great place to come and the players love the city as much as they love the course and the tournament. It makes for a wonderful week of top-class golf and top-class entertainment.”
Live action across all four days of the Venetian Macau Open will be beamed on the Asian Tour television platform, which provided over 600 hours of coverage last year, reaching 650 million homes across the globe.
Grant Slack, IMG Senior Vice President, commented: “It’s a pleasure to be working with such committed partners as the MSDB, MGA and The Venetian Macao on this event. Together we have been able to grow the tournament and I very much hope we continue to sustain that growth in future years. All partners in the event have a shared vision of showcasing Macau to the world as a top leisure and sports; business travel destination and the Venetian Macau Open is a fantastic way to do that.
“The tournament will offer free entry for all golf fans so it’s a terrific opportunity to see the stars of Asian golf in the heat of competition,” continued Slack. “We look forward to welcoming the crowds to the Macau Golf & Country Club in October.”
Since its inauguration in 1998, the tournament has been graced by the presence of some of the best golfers the world has ever seen, including Lee Westwood, Colin Montgomerie, Nick Faldo, Padraig Harrington, Fred Couples, Ian Woosnam, Mark O’Meara and last year, Ernie Els.