Lowry to kick-start season earlier than planned at Hong Kong Open

Bernie McGuire

Shane Lowry (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

Bernie McGuire

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Open Champion Shane Lowry has been enticed to cut short his Christmas/New Year break to tee-up early next month in the rescheduled Hong Kong Open.

Lowry was due to commence his 2020 season in the Middle East with the January 16th starting defence of his Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship title in the UAE.

Instead, Lowry is cutting short his off-season break and will now tee-up a week earlier in the Hong Kong Open at suburban Fanling.

The 2019 Hong Kong Open had been due to be staged earlier this month but due to student unrest, the co-sanctioned Asian and European Tour event was postponed.

But with the situation in Hong Kong not as tense, the tournament has now been rescheduled for January 9th to 12th but without the sanctioning of the European Tour – meaning Lowry, and any other European-born, will not earn ‘double’ Ryder Cup points.

Instead, Lowry can rely on picking up 2020 Ryder Cup qualifying points via the World Rankings, as is the scenario each week while competing on the PGA Tour or any other event not on the European Tour.

Confirmation of Lowry’s appearance in Hong Kong will be the first occasion he will tee-up in the former colonial outpost in a decade when, as a rookie on the European Tour, he missed the cut.

Lowry also contested the 2009 Hong Kong but also only played two rounds.

“I’m really excited about going back to play the Hong Kong Open again,” said Lowry.

“I haven’t played in Hong Kong for a few years now, so it’s great to be going back.

“The Hong Kong Open will be my first event of 2020 and I’m hoping to use the tournament to kickstart what will be a very important year for me as I try to make the European Ryder Cup team next September and build on the success I enjoyed this year.”

Lowry will then head from Hong Kong to Abu Dhabi where last January he led from start-to-finish to capture the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

And the Clara golfer is celebrating an early Christmas bonus having signed a mega-bucks deal with Tenon, the Park Ave, New York based International business consultancy firm, chaired by former Irish newspaper journalist turned top businessman, Declan Kelly.

News of Lowry’s signing with Tenon comes just months after this year’s Royal Portrush winning hero cashed-in by re-signing a bigger-bucks deal with long-time sponsors, Srixon and Cleveland Golf.

“We are delighted to have Shane serve as a global brand Ambassador for Teneo,” said Kelly.

“He is one of the most exciting and popular players in the world today and will be a great asset for our firm as we continue to expand and grow our operations around the world.”

Lowry is understood to be pocketing a whopping $10m from this new management deal, so why wouldn’t he be excited.

“I am really excited about entering into this global brand partnership with Teneo,” he said in a statement.

“The truly global nature of Teneo’s business, allied to the company’s strong Irish roots and heritage, is something that really appeals to me.”

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