Hong Kong Open Receives Slash In Prize Money, Could Be Per Sponsor Request
Prize money for the Hong Kong Open has been cut by $750,000 to $2M, and organizers are "blaming the state of the world economy," according to the AFP. The deduction comes despite the golf tournament, one of the biggest in Asia, recently retaining its sponsor Swiss bank UBS. Hong Kong Golf Association CEO Iain Valentine said, "It's one of these things that have happened because of the downturn of the world economy" (AFP, 9/20). In Hong Kong, Alvin Sallay noted it is the first time "prize money has shrunk" since the tournament was jointly sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the European Tour in '01. The tournament is scheduled for Nov. 15-18 at the Hong Kong Golf Club. UBS has backed the tournament for the past seven years, "but it is believed the bank drove a hard bargain by asking, and getting, a reduction in their financial commitments -- the prize money." The HKGA and the European Tour have recently asked the government for HK$16M ($2.1M), double what they received last year, as government funding is crucial to getting world No. 1 Rory McIlroy and other top players back to Hong Kong (SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST, 9/20).