Wed, 30 Sep 2020

Protest-delayed Hong Kong Open gets January slot

06 Dec 2019, 22:12 GMT+10

Hong Kong - Golf's Hong Kong Open has been rescheduled for January after its postponement over violent anti-government protests, organisers said on Friday - although it will not be sanctioned by the European Tour.

The tournament, one of Asia's oldest and biggest golf competitions, was originally slated for November 28-December 1, but was postponed as the city wrestled with months of pro-democracy protests.

The $1 million event will now be held from January 9-12, and will be sanctioned by the Asian Tour but not the European Tour which has the South African Open in the same week.

"We are pleased to announce the 61st Hong Kong Open will now be the curtain-raiser for our 2020 season," Asian Tour commissioner and CEO Cho Minn Thant said in a statement.

"As our season-opening event, there will be an undoubtedly strong Asian Tour field with players eager to get their seasons off to a fast start."

European Tour chief Keith Pelley said his organisation would return to sanction the Hong Kong Open when it resumes its November time slot later in the year.

"While we are unable to sanction this edition of the Hong Kong Open due to other tournament commitments... we very much look forward to returning next November when the 62nd Hong Kong Open will kick off our 2021 European Tour season," he said in the statement.

The Hong Kong Open has been won by luminaries from Peter Thomson to Rory McIlroy, and had been an annual fixture at the colonial-era Fanling course for 60 editions since 1959 until its postponement this year.

A new line-up of players will be announced in the coming weeks, organisers said. Former British Open champion Francesco Molinari, Henrik Stenson and Patrick Reed were among the big names who had been due to play last month.

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