November 7, 2006 – Former champion Miguel Angel Jiménez will be looking to get his hands back on the UBS Hong Kong Open trophy after being confirmed for next week’s US$2 million showpiece.
The Spanish ace and three-time Ryder Cup star Paul McGinley are the latest world class players to be unveiled for the tournament, to be staged at the Hong Kong Golf Club in Fanling on November 16-19.
The cigar-chomping, pony-tailed Jiménez carried off the title two years ago – his fifth European Tour victory in less than 12 months – when he triumphed by one shot from Padraig Harrington and James Kingston.
He returned last year to defend his title but, after a solid start, was unable to stay with the leaders in the final two rounds.
McGinley, meanwhile, will be making his first appearance at Fanling since 2001.
The Irishman’s career has gone into overdrive since then with success in the season-ending Volvo Masters at Valderrama in Spain in 2005 and a hat-trick of Ryder Cup successes for Europe against the United States.
He holed the winning putt in the 2002 Ryder Cup, played a key role in retaining it two years later and made headlines again this year when, with the trophy already secured, he sportingly conceded a 25-foot putt to JJ Henry on the final hole – thus halving their singles match – after a spectator ran on to the green.
Jiménez and McGinley will join a star-studded European Tour field at Fanling that includes defending champion Colin Montgomerie and Major winners Retief Goosen and Michael Campbell.
The line-up will feature at least 20 other players who have won European Tour events, including brilliant Swedish newcomer Johan Edfors, who has three victories this year alone.
European Tour players have won the past seven editions of the Hong Kong Open. Korea’s Kang Wook Soon was the last Asian player to win the event, 1998.
“It is a very strong line-up that the European Tour has announced,” said Martin Capstick of tournament promoter Parallel Media Group. “The presence of these stars, together with the very best players from the Asian Tour, means we can look forward to some world class golf next week.”
Leading the quest for an Asian victory will be four-time PGA Tour winner KJ Choi of Korea, Asian Tour UBS Order of Merit leader Jeev Milkha Singh of India and Chinese No.1 Liang Wenchong.
The 48th UBS Hong Kong Open will once again by co-sanctioned by the European and Asian Tours.