October 24, 2007 – Six-time Major winner Nick Faldo will be a star attraction both on and off the course at next month’s UBS Hong Kong Open.
The English golfing great has been invited as a special guest of UBS to take on an “ambassadorial” role at the tournament, to be staged at the Hong Kong Golf Club in Fanling on November 15-18.
Faldo has not only signed up to play in the US$2.25 million showpiece, he will spend time coaching some of Hong Kong’s brightest junior players, including those involved in the UBS-sponsored Faldo Series Asia, his charitable initiative aimed at developing tomorrow’s champions.
In only its second season, the Faldo Series Asia already operates 11 tournaments in nine different countries across the region and will culminate in the grand final at Mission Hills, China on December 12-14.
“The Hong Kong Golf Club is a unique and special place which I have enjoyed playing on many occasions, so it will be a pleasure to play there again in this year’s UBS Hong Kong Open,” said Faldo.
“I’m also looking forward to teaming up with UBS again who are key supporters of the Faldo Series in Asia.
“There are likely to be some players in the field who have come through the Faldo Series, both in Europe and Asia, so it will be rewarding to see them first-hand and equally exciting to see the high standard of other young Asian golfers coming through.”
Faldo has fond memories of Fanling, having shot a third-round 62 – a course record at the time – on his way to winning the inaugural Johnnie Walker Classic in 1990.
The UBS Hong Kong Open will be just his third European Tour appearance this year as Faldo, 50, scales back his playing schedule.
Widely considered England’s greatest ever player, Faldo won the British Open in 1987, 1990 and 1992 and the Masters in 1989, 1990 and 1996.
He remains Europe’s all-time leading scorer in the Ryder Cup, having played in the event a record 11 times, and will captain Europe when the biennial contest is staged in Valhalla, Kentucky next year.
“The addition of Nick Faldo to the field for this year’s UBS Hong Kong Open is another wonderful boost for the heritage tournament of Asian golf,” said Kathryn Shih, Chief Executive, UBS Hong Kong Branch.
“Not only will Nick bring the experience of six Major victories to Hong Kong, but he will also have the chance to cast his eye over potential charges for next year’s Ryder Cup in one of the strongest Hong Kong fields on record.
“Valuable early points on the 2008 Ryder Cup rankings list will be on offer at Fanling, so we can expect the European challenge for a ninth consecutive win at one of Asian golf’s most prestigious championships to be strong.”
Faldo will be part of a stellar field for the 49th staging of the UBS Hong Kong Open.
Two-time US Open champion Retief Goosen and 2003 Masters winner Mike Weir will be joined by fellow PGA Tour stars KJ Choi, Stuart Appleby and Trevor Immelman.
Reigning Hong Kong champion José Manuel Lara of Spain will return to defend his title while Chinese No.1 and Asian Tour UBS Order of Merit leader Liang Wenchong has also confirmed he is taking part.
PGA Tour star Arron Oberholser has withdrawn with a recurring hand injury that requires surgery.
The UBS Hong Kong Open is again jointly sanctioned by the European and Asian Tours and more star players will be announced in the coming weeks.
The Open was first staged in 1959 – making it the territory’s oldest professional sporting event – and has been held every year at the Hong Kong Golf Club.