UBS, one of the world’s leading financial firms, has signed a four-year agreement with The European Tour and Parallel Media Group (PMG) to become the title sponsor of the Hong Kong Open.
The agreement takes Asia’s second longest-running tournament through to its 50th anniversary in 2008. UBS will substantially increase the prize fund from last year’s USD800,000 to USD1.2 million in 2005 and eventually to an anticipated USD2.5 million over the four-year term of the contract.
The UBS Hong Kong Open, co-sanctioned between The European Tour, the Asian Tour and the Hong Kong Golf Association, is the third event on The 2006 European Tour International Schedule and will be played at the Hong Kong Golf Club, Fanling, between 1st and 4th December, with PMG as the event promoter.
This is the sixth year that the Hong Kong Open has been jointly sanctioned by The European Tour and the Asian Tour. From 2002 to 2004, the prize fund has risen from USD700,000 to USD800,000.
The tournament has a rich and varied history since the event was first played in 1959, when the winner was Taiwan’s Lu Liang Huan – more popularly known as Mr Lu. Over the years, seven Major Champions, with a total of 20 Major Championships between them, have won the Hong Kong Open. They are: Bernhard Langer, Orville Moody, Kel Nagle, Greg Norman, Peter Thomson, Tom Watson and Ian Woosnam.
Since the event became jointly sanctioned, the winners have been José Maria Olazábal (2002), Fredrik Jacobson (2003), Padraig Harrington (2004) and Miguel Angel Jiménez (2005).
Kathryn Shih, Country Head of UBS Hong Kong said: “UBS is proud to be associated with the tradition of the longest running sporting event in Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Open, and to actively help it to remain one of the regions biggest and most prestigious tournaments. We feel that the heritage and importance of the Hong Kong Open will strengthen the UBS brand and the UBS business substantially in one of its most important Asian markets, and also across the region.”
Keith Waters, Director of International Policy, The European Tour, said: “We are delighted that a company of the stature and tradition of UBS has come on board as title sponsor of the Hong Kong Open, a tournament which is among the oldest and most popular in Asia.
“We welcome this new four-year agreement, which will enable the event to celebrate its Golden Anniversary in style in 2008, and thank UBS, the Asian Tour, the Hong Kong Golf Association and Parallel Media Group for their support.”
Louis Martin, Chief Executive of the Asian Tour, said: “As Asia’s second longest-running tournament, the Hong Kong Open commands a special place on the Asian Tour Schedule and we are delighted that UBS have come on board as title sponsor. We look forward to another successful edition of the UBS Hong Kong Open at Fanling in December.”
Commenting on the announcement, for tournament hosts, the Hong Kong Golf Association, Chief Executive Iain Valentine said: “We are delighted to welcome UBS on board as title sponsor of the Hong Kong Open. The Hong Kong Golf Association is incredibly proud of this tournament, which has a long and illustrious history as one of the oldest professional sporting events in Asia. With this fantastic four-year commitment from UBS, a trusted partner, we are confident our national Open will continue to grow in stature even more.”