Dustin Johnson and Justin Rose will be the stars of the show at Fanling in October when the golfing superstars headline the UBS Hong Kong Open.
Johnson and Rose, currently ranked fifth and seventh in the Official World Golf Ranking, confirmed their entries to one of Asia’s most prestigious tournaments following their strong performances in The Open recently.
Johnson shared the halfway lead at St Andrews before a disappointing final two rounds, while Rose finished strongly to flirt with contention and eventually tie for sixth.
Johnson, a 31-year-old from South Carolina, is one of the game’s most exciting players where his natural talent and athleticism allows him to be one of the longest and straightest drivers of the golf ball in the world.
He also has the short game to back it up, winning nine times on the PGA Tour, including the WGC-Cadillac Championship in March, and contending in almost every Major championship he plays. He finished tied second at the U.S. Open in June.
Johnson said: “I’m excited to be making my first trip to the UBS Hong Kong Open. I’ve heard some great things about the tournament, and that the Hong Kong Golf Club is a real classic golf course with a rich history and tradition.
“You look at some of the names who have won the tournament – guys like Norman, Watson, Woosnam, Langer, Olazabal, Montgomerie and McIlroy – and you realise there’s a great history there. Those are the kind of trophies you want to get your name on.
“I’m also really looking forward to visiting Hong Kong. As golfers we are very lucky to have the chance to travel the world playing the game we love and when you get the chance to visit cities as exciting as Hong Kong, then it’s difficult to say no. It’s going to be an exciting trip.”
Rose, of course, is a Major champion, having won the 2013 U.S. Open and becoming the first Englishman since Tony Jacklin in 1970 to win America’s national Open. A truly global player, Rose has won seven times on both The European and PGA Tours, as well as picking up titles in the land of his birth, South Africa, as well as Australia and Japan.
Rose said: “Hong Kong is one of my favourite cities in the world and Fanling is a great golf course. The tournament is close to the end of the Race to Dubai so I liked the idea of putting another tournament on the schedule near the end of the year to give myself as good a chance as possible of winning the Race to Dubai when we get to Dubai at the end of the season.
“I missed the cut by a shot in 2011 but I loved the course. I remember I made a late run of birdies to almost make the cut but then missing that cut actually enabled me to spend a weekend in the city and really get to know and love the place.
“We stay in an awesome hotel in the middle of town and there are just so many great restaurants and so much to do – when you are away from the course you always feel you are somewhere very special and unique.
“But hopefully this year I can improve the golf side of things. Fanling is a very traditional, tree-lined, tight course. It’s not long but a great test of golf and not easy as the winning scores usually tell. It’s also great to have UBS back on board as title sponsor – they have a great association with the tournament and we are delighted to have them back.”
Kathryn Shih, Head of UBS Wealth Management, APAC commented on the first star players to join the field for the 2015 UBS Hong Kong Open saying, “We are excited to have Dustin Johnson and Justin Rose confirming for the 2015 UBS Hong Kong Open. The presence of two of the world’s top-10 golfers is sure to boost the tournament’s appeal and we look forward to writing another exciting page in the history of the UBS Hong Kong Open this October.”
Earlier this month, UBS announced its return as title sponsor of the UBS Hong Kong Open after having previously served as title sponsor from 2005 to 2012. The event is also supported by the Hong Kong SAR Government’s Mega Events Fund and sanctioned by the Asian Tour, European Tour and Hong Kong Golf Association.
With the funding support from the Mega Events Fund, the UBS Hong Kong Open 2015 has successfully secured the participation of a number of world’s leading golf players to play in this mega event. 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 this event, but will also help promote Hong Kong as a premier travel destination in the region and the local participation.
“The funding of the Mega Events Fund will also be deployed to facilitate the organisation of other additional activities for Hong Kong. The UBS Hong Kong Open will certainly be one of the highlights of our events calendar and the talking point of the town again this year,” said the Honourable Jeffrey Lam, Chairman of the Mega Events Fund Assessment Committee.
The UBS Hong Kong Open will take place at the Hong Kong Golf Club from October 22 to 25, 2015. The return of UBS as title sponsor for the first time since 2012 has seen the prize purse for the tournament, Hong Kong’s oldest sporting event, increased to US$2 million in 2015 from US$1.3 million last year, helping to attract some of the world’s premier golfers like Johnson and Rose to the Hong Kong Golf Club.
Past champions include Peter Thomson, Greg Norman, Ian Woosnam, Bernhard Langer, Tom Watson, José Maria Olazábal, Padraig Harrington, Rory McIlroy, Ian Poulter, Miguel Angel Jiménez and Colin Montgomerie. Scott Hend won the tournament last year and another all-star field is expected to assemble in Hong Kong for the UBS Hong Kong Open 2015.