Garcia debuts at UBS Hong Kong Open

Masters champion Sergio Garcia will make his first appearance at the UBS Hong Kong Open from November 23-26 in the opening event in the European Tour’s 2018 Race to Dubai.

The UBS Hong Kong Open is also one of the last few events remaining on the 2017 Asian Tour season and will play an important role in shaping the race for the prestigious Order of Merit crown.

Garcia made his Major-winning breakthrough in April this year when he defeated Justin Rose in a play-off at Augusta National to win the coveted Green Jacket. Garcia began his attempt to secure one of the most treasured prizes in golf 18 years ago which was finally achieved after 74 attempts.

A 13-time European Tour winner, the 37-year-old has also played a pivotal role in helping team Europe to six Ryder Cup victories between 1999 and 2017, one of which when he was vice-captain at Celtic Manor in 2010, is delighted to be making his debut in the UBS Hong Kong Open.

The Spaniard was the first person to applaud the tournament’s policy of free entry for all spectators on Thursday 23 and Friday 24 November.

“I have to say it’s a great idea to give free entry to the tournament for the first two days,” said Garcia. “We want to grow the game and introduce new people to golf so hopefully we can put on a great show for the fans and inspire some new golfers to take up the game.

“I know from speaking to a lot of players on Tour that the UBS Hong Kong Open is a great tournament and I can’t wait to play the Hong Kong Golf Club. I hear the course is a brilliant lay-out that requires a lot of shot-making and imagination which should suit me a lot if I can play well.”

With entry to the tournament on free of charge for the first two days, tournament organisers are hoping to break last year’s record crowd of 46,000 spectators at the Hong Kong Golf Club in Fanling for the city’s longest-running sporting event, which is co-sanctioned between the European and Asian Tours as well as the Hong Kong Golf Association.

Australian Sam Brazel will defend his title against Garcia and a host of other star names which will be announced over the coming weeks.

Ms Amy Lo, Head of UBS Wealth Management Greater China and Country Head of UBS Hong Kong said: “UBS is delighted to once again extend its support to the UBS Hong Kong Open in 2017.

“We are also excited to welcome Sergio Garcia for the first time. He is the latest in the long list of world-class players to participate in this prestigious tournament over the past 59 years.

“I am confident that his appearance will boost public interest in the tournament.”

Dr Peter Lam, Chairman of the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB), said: “We’re excited to see many of the world’s best golfers in action in Hong Kong again for the UBS Hong Kong Open, one of the world’s best-known international golf events. The HKTB has long been promoting Hong Kong’s diverse travel experiences, including sports and outdoors activities, to showcase the city’s vibrancy and dynamic appeal.  With the strong line-up this year, I’m sure the UBS Hong Kong Open will enrich the city’s event portfolio and offer visitors a thrilling tournament. The HKTB fully supports this longest-standing professional sporting event and will continue to stage and support more international sports events in Hong Kong to consolidate the city’s position as Asia’s events capital.”

Arnold Wong, Captain of the Hong Kong Golf Club, said: “To have the reigning Masters Champion coming to the Hong Kong Golf Club is a great honour and we hope that Sergio and all of the players in the UBS Hong Kong Open field have a fantastic week at Fanling. As always, we look forward to working with all of our partners to deliver another outstanding edition of this great event.”

Harald van Heel, President of the Hong Kong Golf Association, said: “We are once again delighted to be co-sanctioning our national open with our friends from the European and Asian Tours and we naturally welcome the decision to allow all spectators free entry to the tournament during the first two days. Initiatives like this are vital in attracting a new generation of golfers and golf fans to our sport and we hope to see thousands of people enjoying the UBS Hong Kong Open in November.”

The UBS Hong Kong Open is an accredited event celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). The HKSAR Government and HKTB fully support the UBS HK Open.

To share the joy of the 20th Anniversary, the HKSAR Government is joining hands with different sectors to organise a wide variety of activities and events under the theme "Together, Progress, Opportunity".