The European Tour has confirmed that next week’s 130th anniversary Hong Kong Open will no longer go ahead due to ongoing social unrest in the former colonial outpost.
There had been strong rumours at Tuesday night’s Hero Challenge at the Atlantis Resort in Dubai that the co-sanctioned event would not be going ahead.
Last year’s Open Champion and European Tour No. 1 Francesco Molinari was all set to headline on the ‘old-style’ course in suburban Fanling but it is for reasons grabbing front-page headlines in Hong Kong rather the back-page news that the Tour has suspended the European and Asian Tour event.
Indeed, the last thing both Tour’s need,as mentioned by a very leading European Tour official, is a headline along the lines of, ‘Hong Kong Open Being Played While City Burns’.
The statement in full reads:
Regretfully the European Tour, in conjunction with our tournament co-sanctioning partner at the Asian Tour, has taken the decision to postpone next week’s Hong Kong Open, scheduled for the Hong Kong Golf Club, Fanling from November 28 to December 1. An attempt will be made to reschedule the tournament to early 2020.
Keith Pelley, Chief Executive of the European Tour, said: “The decision has been taken due to the ongoing level of social unrest in Hong Kong. As the safety of our players, staff, stakeholders and everyone involved in each and every one of our tournaments around the world is our top priority, we feel this is the correct, but unfortunate, course of action.
“The European Tour thanks everyone at the Hong Kong Golf Association, the Hong Kong Golf Club and all persons associated with the Hong Kong Open for their hard work in endeavouring to stage the tournament and we look forward to hopefully returning early next year.”
Cho Minn Thant, Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer of the Asian Tour said: “It is regrettable that the Hong Kong Open has to be postponed due to the ongoing unrest in the city.
“The unpredictability of the current situation in Hong Kong makes it very challenging to sanction the tournament especially with the safety of everyone of utmost importance. However, we are optimistic that once the situation in Hong Kong stabilises, we will be in a better position to sanction the 61st edition of the Hong Kong Open in the very near future.”
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