Victor Dubuisson, Miguel Angel Jiménez, Graeme McDowell and Patrick Reed are the latest star names to confirm their participation in the UBS Hong Kong Open.
With Justin Rose and Dustin Johnson having already announced their forthcoming appearances at the Hong Kong Golf Club in Fanling from October 22-25, this year’s 57th staging of the event will feature some of the best American and European players in the world, with Rose currently ranked fifth and Johnson in seventh.
Reed, the World Number 18, is relishing the opportunity to star in such an exciting setting as he seeks to establish himself as a truly global player having made his name with four US PGA Tour victories before the age of 25, including the 2014 WGC–Cadillac Championship.
Reed also made a strong Ryder Cup debut alongside new World Number One Jordan Spieth at Gleneagles last year, winning three-and-a-half points from four matches.
He said: “I am very excited to announce that I have added the UBS Hong Kong Open to my schedule. I have been looking forward to putting together a truly global schedule and adding the UBS Hong Kong Open certainly does that. I want to compete and contend all over the world, and this gives me the opportunity to do so. The UBS Hong Kong Open has a world-class field, and I am looking forward to bringing my game to the Far East.”
Dubuisson and McDowell, who teamed up in last year’s Ryder Cup to win two points from two matches together as Europe swept to a 16½-11½ victory, are both hopeful that the rarefied atmosphere of the UBS Hong Kong Open can inspire them to victory.
“The UBS Hong Kong Open is one of those tournaments which has a unique atmosphere,” said Dubuisson. “I think it is a combination of a great city, a fantastic golf course and the fact that The European and Asian Tour players come together to create that special ambience. It is a special place and a special tournament so I would be honoured to be able to win there.
“The last time I played at Fanling was in 2012. I shot 74 in the first round and remember being quite frustrated but the next day I shot 69 and thought I had done enough to make the cut, but eventually I was one shot out. On that second day I realised how to play the course, so I am looking forward to going back to play better and hopefully try to win the tournament.”
McDowell said: “I’m looking forward to getting back to Fanling. I’m not sure you can ever say that a venue ‘owes’ you anything, but I have had some really good results there and it would be pretty sweet to get a win there after going close on a couple of occasions.
“The last time I was there was 2010 and it’s a course that I love. It’s a real old-school layout and I think the thing the players love about it is that it has stood the test of time. Sure, the scoring is quite low at the tournament but it makes for really exciting golf, and with such good crowds there every year it seems the event is always a real highlight for the players.
“When you throw Hong Kong the city into the mix then you have a very special week. Hong Kong is just one of the great cities of the world, a real melting pot, so any time you have the chance to go to such an exciting destination it’s difficult to say no.”
Any of the star players set to play in this year’s UBS Hong Kong Open looking for advice on how to win at Fanling need only ask Jiménez.
Having won the tournament a record-equalling four times, the great Spaniard has an enduring love affair with the UBS Hong Kong Open as he seeks to capture a record fifth title in October – a feat which would see him re-write his own record as the oldest winner in European Tour history, aged 51.
“What can I say about Hong Kong I haven’t said before?” smiled Jiménez. “I love the tournament and have so much personal history there that it is just a very special week for me. Not many players in the history of the game have won the same tournament four times, so every time I go to Fanling I feel I have a great chance to play well and hopefully win. I know no-one has won the event five times, so if I can do it again it would be an unbelievable feeling.
“I have been going to Hong Kong for so many years that I have made a lot of very special friends there, so every time I go back I see a lot of great people. I love the city as well. There are so many fantastic restaurants and places to see – it is definitely my kind of town! I would also like to add how much we appreciate the support of UBS as our title sponsor once again. They have been a great supporter of the tournament for many years and it’s great to see them back.”
The UBS Hong Kong Open will take place at the Hong Kong Golf Club from October 22-25, 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.
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” 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.
Past champions include Peter Thomson, Greg Norman, Ian Woosnam, Bernhard Langer, Tom Watson, José María 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 at Fanling for this year’s edition.