October 3, 2007 – Tiger tamer Mike Weir will spearhead a quartet of PGA Tour aces at next
month’s UBS Hong Kong Open.
The former Masters champion – fresh from his stunning victory over Tiger Woods in the Presidents Cup at the weekend – will be joined by two-time US Open winner Retief Goosen, rising star Trevor Immelman and world No.9 KJ Choi at the US$2 million showpiece.
The four – who boast 20 PGA Tour victories between them – will be among the title favourites when the Open is staged at the Hong Kong Golf Club in Fanling on November 15-18.
Chinese No.1 and current Asian Tour UBS Order of Merit leader Liang Wenchong has already been signed up to lead what promises to be a powerful Asian challenge.
Left-hander Weir and Immelman – the 2006 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year – will be making their Hong Kong debuts.
With his Masters victory at Augusta in 2003, Weir became only the second left-hander to win a Major – 40 years after Bob Charles won the British Open – and the first Canadian to do so.
He has a total of seven PGA Tour victories to his name and this year finished joint eighth at the British Open at Carnoustie.
He will head to Fanling full of confidence after his thrilling 1-up victory over world No.1 Woods in their Presidents Cup singles match played in front of adoring Canadian fans at the Royal Montreal Golf Club on Sunday.
“I’m really looking forward to playing in Hong Kong for the first time,” said Weir.
“It’s always exciting to take on a new challenge and I’ve heard great things about the UBS Hong Kong Open and the galleries at Fanling.
“The Open has had some great champions down the years, but never one from Canada, so I’ll be doing my best to be the first.”
Immelman claimed his maiden PGA Tour victory at last year’s Cialis Western Open to add to his three European Tour successes.
“I’m delighted to be making my Hong Kong debut and it promises to be a great experience,” said the South African.
“I know the European and Asian Tour guys rate Hong Kong as one of the best stops on the circuit because the tournament has a wonderful history and the city has a real buzz about it.
“I’ve been fortunate to win on the European Tour before and I’ll be doing my best to add the UBS Hong Kong Open to the list.”
Goosen, winner of the US Open in 2001 and 2004, will be making his second appearance in Hong Kong.
The South African is one of the sport’s truly global players with 20 victories on the PGA, European and Asian Tours.
“I’m relishing the chance to return to the Hong Kong Golf Club after making my debut at the UBS Hong Kong Open last year,” said Goosen.
“It’s a challenging course that tests every aspect of a player’s game and puts the accent firmly on accuracy. I know there will be a top class field with plenty of contenders for the title and hopefully I’ll be one of them on
the final day.”
Choi, the world’s top-ranked Asian player, is enjoying a storming year with two PGA Tour victories – taking his career total to six – and five other top-10 finishes.
The Korean is familiar with Fanling and will be keen to go one better than his previous best finish in the UBS Hong Kong Open – joint runner-up in 2005.
Kathryn Shih, Chief Executive of UBS Hong Kong Branch, hailed the line-up of players.
“I am delighted that both KJ and Retief will be back at Fanling for the UBS Hong Kong Open and, after such spectacular years on the PGA Tour, I expect that KJ and Retief will mount a stern challenge for this year’s title,” she said.
“It is a great pleasure to welcome two new faces at the tournament. Mike Weir and Trevor Immelman are sure to pull in the crowds as they aim to join an illustrious list of winners who have also clinched the Hong Kong Open title.
“The participation of four great names, including two former Major winners, is a great boost to this year’s tournament. I wish them all the best of luck in their efforts.”
The UBS Hong Kong Open, promoted by Parallel Media Group, 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.
The 2007 tournament will mark the third year of UBS’s four-year title sponsorship agreement.