Ahead of the defence of his UBS Hong Kong Open title, newly-crowned Race to Dubai champion Rory McIlroy was joined by four-time US PGA Tour winner Matt Kuchar and a trio of Major Champions, Padraig Harrington, Paul Lawrie and YE Yang, in a press conference held on Tuesday afternoon at The Peak Tower, in Hong Kong.
McIlroy wrapped up The Race to Dubai title with a third place finish in Singapore last week, and the World Number One will now attempt to extend his remarkable record in a tournament in which he won last year, finished as runner-up in 2008 and 2009, and tied sixth in 2010.
Like his fellow Irishman, Harrington has also enjoyed success at Hong Kong Golf Club, winning at Fanling in 2003 and finishing runner-up one year later.
In contrast, Ryder Cup player Kuchar, winner of The Players Championship on the US PGA Tour this year, will be making his UBS Hong Kong Open debut this week.
Lawrie was in opposition to Kuchar at Medinah Country Club, where Europe emerged triumphant after a dramatic final day, with the Scotsman playing his part courtesy of a 5&3 victory over Brandt Snedeker.
The 1999 Open Champion, currently in tenth place in The Race to Dubai, has won eight European Tour titles – including two this year – and will be hoping to add to his bulging trophy cabinet at this week’s US$2million event.
His fellow Major Champion, YE Yang, arrived in Hong Kong on the back of a top ten finish in Singapore last week. The 2009 US PGA Champion finished in a tie for seventh place at the 2011 UBS Hong Kong Open.
Peter Aherne, President of the Hong Kong Golf Association, said: “I would like to thank UBS for their continued support of this event – this is now their 8th year as Title Sponsor.”
“I would also like to express my thanks and gratitude to the Mega Events Fund for their help and commitment to the event. Their assistance helps to bring leading players, such as those present today, to compete in the UBS Hong Kong Open, showcasing Hong Kong as a destination.”
Vincent Fung, Secretary of the Mega Events Fund Assessment Committee and Assistant Commissioner for Tourism, said: “The Hong Kong Open is one of our oldest professional sporting events. The Mega Event Fund is pleased to give its support again to this historic Championship in 2012.
“With MEF’s funding support, the event has grown into a signature event with the participation of a very strong field of players which is unprecedented in its long history. It further enables a range of publicity and community programme initiatives being carried out to promote Hong Kong as a prime tourist destination and engage the public in the sports.”
Kathryn Shih, CEO UBS Wealth Management Asia Pacific, said: “Hong Kong is delighted to welcome the star golfers from The European, Asian and US PGA Tours to the UBS Hong Kong Open, the city’s oldest professional sporting event – and, on behalf of UBS, I wish them an enjoyable and successful stay.”