Hong Kong Open On 'Shaky Ground' As Organizers Continue Search For Sponsor
The announcement of the return of Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez, "loudly heralded" by organizers this week, "overshadowed the fact that Hong Kong's oldest professional sporting event," the Hong Kong Open, has still not been able to attract a corporate sponsor, leaving its financial future on "shaky ground," according to Alvin Sallay of the SOUTH MORNING CHINA POST. It was felt bringing the tournament forward from December last year to October "would make the event more attractive as it now falls into this season's Race to Dubai." The Hong Kong event "is now one of the last stops before the finale in Dubai and in theory it should be a must stop for the top golfers on the European Tour." But with "paltry prize money" of $1.3M, the leading players "can afford to ignore Hong Kong to play in other tournaments which offer far more prize money, like the four-tournament Final Series ending in the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai." A title sponsor "would see the prize money increase." Last year, Hong Kong Golf Club "came in at the 11th hour and agreed to underwrite the tournament" where the prize money was reduced to $1.3M. Despite assurances from the Hong Kong Golf Association and the European Tour that a sponsor would be found, the tournament is "still in limbo" (SCMP, 8/16).