Four-time Major champion Ernie Els has confirmed his participation at the prestigious Hong Kong Open for the first time. Taking place from October 16-19, 2014, the tournament will be the penultimate event on The European Tour International Schedule before the lucrative Final Series. It will again be sanctioned with the Asian Tour and Hong Kong Golf Association.
The South African, who has 70 tour titles to his name, will play four tournaments in Asia starting with the Hong Kong Open as he makes his final preparations for the DP World Tour Championship. He is currently in 21st place in The Race to Dubai.
The Big Easy, as he is known on the tour, who will celebrate his 45th birthday on the Friday of the tournament, is excited to grace the fairways of the Hong Kong Golf Club.
He said: “I am very much looking forward to playing at the Hong Kong Open for the first time. I have been to Hong Kong before and have tried and enjoyed the course, so am excited to take part in the tournament. I have heard many great things about the event, its history and heritage, and I hope I am in a position to challenge for the title on the Sunday and join the list of great names who have held aloft this famous trophy.”
Keith Williams, General Manager of Hong Kong Golf Club, said:
“We are delighted to welcome the great Ernie Els to the Hong Kong Open for the very first time. Ernie has a huge following in Hong Kong and the Greater China region and this will be an amazing opportunity for his fans to come to Fanling to see him in action.”
Joining Els at the Hong Kong Golf Club in Fanling will be four-time Hong Kong Open winner Miguel Angel Jiménez who will be hoping for more record-breaking glory as he attempts to win the tournament for an unprecedented third time in a row.
Ning Li, President of the Hong Kong Golf Association, added:
“The Hong Kong Open has always attracted the most famous names in golf and that is why you see such an impressive roll of honour that includes ten Major Champions and multiple-time Tour winners. Ernie and Miguel (Angel Jiménez, the defending champion) are not only world-class golfers, they are true ambassadors to the sport and we are so proud to be hosting them here in Hong Kong in October.”
The Hong Kong Open holds the honour of being the only national championship in Asia to be held at the same golf club since its inauguration in 1959. Past winners include Major Champions Rory McIlroy, Bernhard Langer, Greg Norman, Peter Thomson, Tom Watson and Ian Woosnam. Asian greats Lu Liang-huan, Chen Tze-ming, Lin Wen-tang and Kang Wook-soon have also tasted victory in Fanling.
Supported by the Hong Kong Golf Club, Premier Partners Amundi and DP World and Official Airline Emirates, the tournament joined the Asian Tour Schedule in 2000 before being co-sanctioned the following year with The European Tour as part of the 2002 International Schedule.