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Three-time Major Champion Padraig Harrington is hoping the UBS Hong Kong Open’s ‘Free Thursday’ campaign can help introduce golf to a new audience at the Hong Kong Golf Club in Fanling next week.

The Irishman was hugely impressed by the ‘Free Thursday’ initiative at last week’s British Masters supported by Sky Sports, where more than 15,000 people attended the event, many of them for the first time.

The UBS Hong Kong Open will follow that example next Thursday (October 22), when all spectators will be granted free entry to the Hong Kong Golf Club.

Harrington is a great believer in introducing as many people as possible to the game he loves, and he hopes giving people the opportunity to attend the 57th edition of one of Asia’s great sporting events for free can help to generate new interest in golf in Hong Kong.

“The ‘Free Thursday’ initiative is a great idea and I hope that it can assist in introducing a whole new audience to golf,” said Harrington, who memorably won The 2007 Open Championship, before successfully defending the Claret Jug and adding the US PGA title the following year.

“We saw it at the British Masters last week, where the ‘Free Thursday’ attracted  many kids and young people to the event, some experience golf for the first time, and the players really responded to create  a great atmosphere.

“Golf is seeing a new generation of amazing young players from all over the world coming through and it would be great to bring a new generation of young fans into the game too.  We need to continue to make the game more accessible in order to  grow our sport.”

Harrington is certainly one of golf’s most accessible players, a Special Olympics Ambassador who also played a significant role in successfully presenting golf’s case for inclusion in the 2016 Rio Olympics. The 44 year old, a winner of 30 tournaments worldwide, always loves coming back to the UBS Hong Kong Open, having triumphed at the event in 2003.

“I always enjoy returning to a tournament I have won in the past, and the UBS Hong Kong Open is special for a number of reasons,” he continued.

“The golf course is a real classic, the Hong Kong Golf Club is steeped in history and tradition and then the city itself is one of the most vibrant in the world, which helps  make the tournament one of the best weeks on the schedule.”

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Any opinions or recommendations expressed in this material or in any activities organised under this event do not reflect the views of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region or the Hong Kong Tourism Board