The UBS Hong Kong Open will take on added significance later this year when the historic tournament makes its return to the Asian Tour and European Tour schedules in November.
The event – which dates back to 1959 – will be played at Hong Kong Golf Club from November 23-26, and will once again be tri-sanctioned by the Asian Tour, European Tour and the Hong Kong Golf Association.
The combined star power of the three golf bodies will once again gather with the hope of etching their name on the trophy alongside such luminaries as Padraig Harrington, Miguel Angel Jiménez, José María Olazábal, Rory McIlroy and Colin Montgomerie.
The UBS Hong Kong Open marks the beginning of the 2018 European Tour season. Not since December 2003 has the iconic event taken its place as the first event of a European Tour season, when Padraig Harrington got his 2004 campaign off to a winning start.
The galleries at the Hong Kong Golf Club can also expect a gripping finale as the UBS Hong Kong Open is set to be one of the last events on the 2017 Asian Tour schedule where the leading Asian Tour players will be battling for the prestigious Order of Merit crown.
Last year, Sam Brazel claimed his maiden European Tour title in just his 17th appearance as the Australian upset the odds to secure a one-stroke victory over Spain’s 2016 Ryder Cup player Rafa Cabrera Bello. It was also his first Asian Tour title.
It was a dramatic final day worthy of the prestigious event – at one point during the back nine battle on Sunday, six players shared the lead, including Masters Champion Danny Willett and the current Race to Dubai leader Tommy Fleetwood. But it was Brazel who emerged victorious in thrilling fashion courtesy of a birdie at the last.
“UBS is delighted to be supporting the 59th annual UBS Hong Kong Open in November. With a reputation for dramatic finishes and a long list of prestigious champions in Hong Kong over the decades, we are confident of providing a thrilling opening to the European Tour season.
“We look forward to once again working closely with the Tours and our event partners to continue our drive to fully involve the entire Hong Kong community in the UBS Hong Kong Open in 2017,” said Amy Lo, Head of UBS Wealth Management Greater China and Country Head of UBS Hong Kong.
Ben Cowen, the European Tour’s Director of International Policy, said: “The UBS Hong Kong Open has been a permanent fixture on the European Tour for 16 seasons now so it is only fitting that it returns as the curtain-raiser for the 2018 season.
“This tournament proves the long-term success that can be achieved through collaboration and we are very much looking forward to once again working with our tri-sanctioning partners the Asian Tour and the Hong Kong Golf Association, as well as Hong Kong Golf Club, to provide another world-class event.”
Cho Minn Thant, Chief Operating Officer of the Asian Tour said: “The UBS Hong Kong Open always holds a special place on the Asian Tour Schedule. The tournament welcomed a worthy winner in Australia’s Sam Brazel last year and we’re confident this year’s edition will continue to excite as the region’s best players face off against a stellar international field at the Hong Kong Golf Club.
“The support of all of our partners including the European Tour, Hong Kong Golf Association and Hong Kong Golf Club has been instrumental in ensuring the UBS Hong Kong Open remains a top quality sporting spectacle for all.”
Kenneth Lam, Captain of the Hong Kong Golf Club, said: “As host venue since its inauguration in 1959, the championship holds a very special place in the heart of our club.
“We have been delighted by the growth of the Hong Kong Open in recent times – we saw a record gallery of nearly 47,000 local and overseas fans over the four days last year – which has helped underline Hong Kong’s position as Asia’s World City. It promises to be another spectacular week of world-class golfing action.”
Harald Van Heel, President of the Hong Kong Golf Association, said: “The Hong Kong Golf Association is proud to witness the Hong Kong Open evolve from a local tournament to become the marquee golfing event set firmly in the Hong Kong sporting calendar. With the funding support from sponsors and the Hong Kong Government the UBS Hong Kong Open is now one of the major attractions for tourists. In 2017 we would like to bring the UBS Hong Kong Open closer to the Hong Kong people by bringing the community to the Open, showing that this is our tournament. A golf tournament that belongs to Hong Kong people.”