The European Tour has decided to postpone next week’s Hong Kong Open in light of the on-going social unrest in the city.
The tournament, which was due to take place at Hong Kong Golf Club from November 28 to December 1, will be rescheduled for next year, although no dates have yet been agreed.
Keith Pelley, chief executive of the European Tour, said: “The decision has been taken to postpone the tournament 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, which co-sanctions the tournament, 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.”
Surrey golfer George Groves, the world’s top-ranked disabled player, has won the inaugural European Disabled Golf Association’s Dubai finale.
The 36-hole event, which featured some of the world’s best golfers with disability, took place alongside the European Tour’s DP World Tour Championship.
Groves shot rounds of 77 and 82 for a 15-over-par total, to win by three shots from America’s Chad Pfeiffer. American Christopher Biggins finished at 20 over, with Frenchman Charles-Henri Quélin, Irishman Lawlor, Australian Geoff Nicholas and Swede Joakim Bjorkman rounding out the field.
Groves, who has Erb’s Palsy, a condition which leaves him with 20 per cent strength in his left arm after a medical accident during birth, was delighted with the win, having finished second at the EDGA Scottish Open this summer.
“It’s fantastic,” he said. “I’m going to go home very proud of myself, celebrate with my friends and family. The EDGA tour has really changed my life. I think it’s just changed me as a person, and changed me as a golfer. It’s really good to get us involved and on TV and to show other people with disabilities to get more into golf and be confident in themselves and get out there and show what you can do. So to come out and win this is just incredible.”
Groves, who works at Horne Park Golf Club in Surrey, won the English Disability Open by five shots earlier in the year, and has no doubts that he has chosen the right career path. “When I was younger I played football, but I was told I needed to do exercises for my arm, so my parents suggested I gave golf a go. I went to the range one day and really enjoyed it. Now that I’m world No.1, I’m pretty sure I made the right choice.”
Jon Rahm was crowned the 2019 Race to Dubai champion after a dramatic victory in the DP World Tour Championship, as the European Tour’s season-long contest came down to a single shot.
The 25-year-old Spaniard held off a determined late charge from Tommy Fleetwood to seal his second DP World Tour Championship title in three years and his fourth Rolex Series victory.
Rahm went into the final round in a share of the lead with Frenchman Mike Lorenzo Vera, but he pulled six shots clear after seven holes. Rahm dropped consecutive shots on the eighth and ninth holes and his lead was further eroded on the back nine as Fleetwood finished with five birdies in his final seven holes to sign for a 65 and set the target of 18 under par.
That meant Rahm, who had posted two birdies and two bogeys after the turn, then had to birdie the last hole for victory to avoid a winner-takes-all play-off with Fleetwood to decide both the tournament and the Race to Dubai. He duly held his nerve with a superb bunker shot to four feet before rolling in the putt for a 68 to finish on 19 under par and claim the €3 million first prize.
Rahm has now won six times in 40 European Tour appearances – two DP World Tour Championships, two Irish Opens and two Spanish Opens – achieving that milestone in 15 fewer events than his legendary compatriot, the late Seve Ballesteros.
Rahm, who moved to world no.3 with the win, said: “Man, you dream of making birdies on 18 to win a tournament. And how I was playing early on, I was hoping not to need that, but it happened, and I came through when I needed it and really proud of myself for that.
“I’ve thought about winning the Race to Dubai all week. I’ve thought about it the last two hours. I’ve thought about it as soon as I made the putt. But it still hasn’t processed in my mind. It’s a thought in there, but it still has not been internalised.”
Runner-up Fleetwood, who also finished second in the Race to Dubai rankings, said: “I couldn’t have done much more. I’m really proud of the way I played the last few holes. Proud of the end of the season, and these two weeks make the season just seem in a different light than it did would weeks before we started.
“Fair play to Jon. That’s a cracking birdie down the last when you have to make it. There’s always going to be a little bit of disappointment there, but for the most part, I got myself back in it, and I am very proud of the way I played on that back nine. You know, it’s Jon’s time, Jon’s moment, he’s played unbelievably well this year.”
Rory McIlroy, who wasn’t qualified to win the Race to Dubai, could not replicate the fireworks of his third round 65, as he closed with 73 to finish seven strokes back in fourth place on 12 under par, with defending champion Danny Willett a further shot back in fifth after a 69.
Austrian Bernd Wiesberger, who had led the Race to Dubai going into the season finale, posted a round of 72 to finish in tied 28th on two under par. He slipped to third position in the final rankings, with Shane Lowry and Matt Fitzpatrick completing the Race to Dubai top five, each earning a share of the $5 million bonus pool.
Final round scores
269 J Rahm 66 69 66 68
270 T Fleetwood 67 68 70 65
271 M Lorenzo-Vera 63 69 69 70
276 R McIlroy 64 74 65 73
277 D Willett 69 72 67 69,
278 T Lewis (Eng) 67 70 73 68, T Pieters (Bel) 70 68 68 72, S Garcia (Esp) 71 73 67 67,
279 M Fitzpatrick (Eng) 71 71 68 69,
280 A Sullivan (Eng) 70 74 67 69, J Scrivener (Aus) 71 72 72 65,
281 S Lowry (Irl) 73 68 70 70, C Bezuidenhout (RSA) 71 67 70 73,
282 R Macintyre (Sco) 71 74 68 69, P Waring (Eng) 71 77 68 66,
283 G Migliozzi (Ita) 73 70 68 72, M Kinhult (Swe) 68 71 68 76,
284 J Campillo (Esp) 73 72 69 70, P Casey (Eng) 73 73 66 72,
285 R Sterne (RSA) 71 72 71 71, J Luiten (Ned) 74 71 68 72, D Lipsky (USA) 72 71 71 71, J Rose (Eng) 69 70 73 73, V Perez (Fra) 73 73 72 67, L Oosthuizen (RSA) 70 70 73 72, R Cabrera Bello (Esp) 68 73 74 70, M Schwab (Aut) 69 73 70 73,
286 M Korhonen (Fin) 72 76 70 68, M Southgate (Eng) 75 71 70 70, M Wallace (Eng) 70 74 69 73, E Van Rooyen (RSA) 71 72 73 70, T Detry (Bel) 69 71 71 75, A Arnaus (Esp) 70 70 72 74, P Reed (USA) 74 68 72 72, B Wiesberger (Aut) 70 71 73 72,
287 J Harding (RSA) 73 73 70 71, J Hansen (Den) 74 73 68 72,
288 L Westwood (Eng) 73 70 74 71, B Hebert (Fra) 70 74 73 71,
289 F Molinari (Ita) 69 76 71 73, R Langasque (Fra) 71 74 71 73, A Rai (Eng) 75 69 76 69,
290 H Li (Chn) 69 77 74 70,
291 I Poulter (Eng) 74 76 70 71, H Stenson (Swe) 74 70 77 70,
292 T Hatton (Eng) 73 79 69 71,
293 J Smith (Eng) 74 73 70 76,
296 K Kitayama (USA) 71 75 77 73,
297 S Hend (Aus) 76 75 73 73, A Pavan (Ita) 77 74 71 75
The BBC will not show any live golf next year for the first time since 1955 after the public service broadcaster lost the rights to live coverage of the Masters. Sky Sports will be the sole broadcasters of next year’s tournament from Augusta, which takes place from April 9-12.
The BBC lost the rights to The Open in 2016, ending a 60-year run with golf’s oldest major championship, while the corporation’s live Masters coverage was pared back to two days in 2011. From next year terrestrial viewers will be able to watch only highlights, the timings of which have yet to be announced.
Sky Sports live coverage from Augusta in 2020 will include all four rounds live; supplementary coverage of featured groups, Amen Corner and at the 15th and 16th holes; live coverage of the Par 3 Contest; and a daily show featuring interviews and analysis from the tournament practice area.
Sky Sports managing director, Rob Webster, said: “The Masters has provided some spectacular moments on Sky Sports – not least Tiger Woods’ unforgettable comeback this year – and we look forward to broadcasting many more at one of the most iconic global sporting events. We are proud of our 10-year association with Augusta National, and our golf team does a great job sharing the magic of the Masters with our viewers.”
American Golf is calling on the nation’s golfers to support forces charity On Course Foundation this Christmas, as tickets for its annual Christmas Raffle go on sale across 100+ stores this week.
With 15,000 tickets available at just £1 a time, and prizes donated by some of golf’s biggest names, American Golf is expecting to put an impressive seasonal topping on its year of fundraising for the charity that uses golf to aid in the rehabilitation of wounded, injured and sick Servicemen and women.
Alongside American Golf, the industry has come out in force to support the raffle for On Course Foundation. Top prize comes courtesy of Ping, with a Ping G410 or GLe2 Driver fitting at the Ping Centre in Gainsborough on offer, with a full factory tour, lunch and golf. Further prizes include Drivers from TaylorMade and Cobra and a selection of other golf clubs, clothing, shoes, bags and golf balls from Titleist, Puma, Under Armour, Wilson Staff and Callaway.
Tickets will be available to buy in store from November 25 until December 31 (or until they sell out) with the draw taking place on January 14.
Prizes on offer include:
1st – Ping G410/ G Le2 Driver, with fitting at Ping’s Gainsborough fitting centre with a full factory tour and a round of golf.
2nd – TaylorMade – Driver of Choice
3rd – Cobra F9 Driver
4th – Powakaddy Dri Edition Cartbag
5th – Titleist SM7 Vokey Wedge Special Edition
Plus more from Puma, Under Armour, Wilson Staff & Callaway
Denmark’s Benjamin Poke completed an emphatic six-stroke victory at European Tour Qualifying School Final Stage to run away with the title as 28 players earned European Tour cards for the 2020 season.
Poke, 27, who led from the second round at Lumine Golf Club in Spain, was in complete control throughout the marathon test, breaking 70 each day to post a 25-under-par total and seal victory ahead of Frenchman Grégory Havret, who came second on 19 under par.
Poke has just completed his rookie season on the Challenge Tour and will be joined on the top tier by his 18-year-old countryman Rasmus Højgaard, who shared fifth place on 16 under.
The promise of a thrilling conclusion to Final Stage was fulfilled again on the Lakes Course as American Sihwan Kim carded a closing 63 to jump 38 places and finish in a share of 17th. Fellow American Johannes Veerman also completed an impressive turnaround, and after opening with a pair of 74s, the 27-year-old came storming back to close with rounds of 67, 67 66 and 66 to finish on 14 under, booking his ticket to the European Tour with a tied 13thfinish.
The greatest excitement was delivered by Rikard Karlberg, who holed a 50-foot putt on the final hole to finish in a tie for 25th, picking up the last available European Tour card. The emphatic end to the gruelling tournament completed an emotional comeback for the Swede, who returned to professional golf in 2019 following a battle with a serious infection and depression.
Other players to earn their cards were Alejandro Cañizares, SSP Chawrasia, Laurie Canter, Aaron Cockerill, Robin Sciot-Siegrist, Carlos Pgiem, Jinho Choi, Adrian Saddier, Sami Valimaki, Garrick Porteous, Jakes Mcleod, Marcus Armitage, Pedro Figueiredo, Jonathan Caldwell, Bradley Dredge, Dave Coupland, Dareen Fichardt, Lars Van Meijel, Toby Tree, Niklas Lemke, Dale Whitnell and Jean-Baptiste Gonnet.
The 2019 European Tour Qualifying School was contested over 252 holes in three stages across 14 different venues. A record number of 1,063 entrants bid for one of 28 European Tour cards, surpassing the previous record of 1,026 from 2017.