HK Open Re-Signs UBS As Title Sponsor, Seeks More Money To Draw Big Players
Swiss bank UBS will return as title sponsor of the Hong Kong Open as organizers Tuesday asked the government "for extra cash to attract marquee players," according to Alvin Sallay of the SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST. European Tour spokesperson Vicky Jones confirmed a deal had been struck with UBS just a few months out from the $2.75M tournament at Hong Kong Golf Club. An anonymous source "hinted that world No. 1 Rory McIlroy would defy a hectic schedule and try to defend his title at the event," which is co-sanctioned by the European Tour and Asian Tour. Jones "scoffed at a rumour" that the European Tour was considering pulling out of the tournament, Hong Kong’s oldest professional sporting event. Jones: “The event is secure.” Jones and Hong Kong Golf Association officials "tried to convince the government’s Mega Events Fund to provide multi-million-dollar funding." Last year, the MEF gave the tournament a record HK$8M ($1M), which went toward paying appearance fees "for big-name players." Another source said that it was "highly likely" McIlroy would return to the tournament (SCMP, 9/11).