Rose is latest big name for open

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 05 October, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 05 October, 2011, 12:00am


Globe-trotting Briton Justin Rose will be hoping for a winning debut when he makes his first appearance at the US$2.75 million UBS Hong Kong Open in December.

England's Rose, 31, is one of the marquee names signed up by organisers flush with the HK$8 million from the government's Mega Events Fund, which is backing the oldest professional sporting event in Hong Kong for the first time.

And a lot is riding on his performance in Fanling - mainly booking his ticket to the lucrative season-ending Dubai World Championship.

'I'm now outside the top-60 in the Race to Dubai [the European Tour order of Merit] and I hope a good outing in Hong Kong can push me into contention. That is my goal and I'm really looking forward to my first visit to Hong Kong,' Rose said, speaking from his home in Orlando, Florida.

Rose will join close friend Ian Poulter, the defending champion, as well as US Open champion Rory McIlroy in a star-studded field for the 53rd edition at the Hong Kong Golf Club from December 1-4.

'We are absolutely delighted he is coming, and yes, the money from the Mega Events Fund will help bring him here,' said Iain Valentine, executive director of the Hong Kong Golf Association. 'We are also pursuing others and are close to signing several big names. Every year we say we have the best-ever field, and this year, I can assure you it will be the very best.'

It is understood that Rose, who in the past two seasons has been playing on both the US PGA Tour as well as the European Tour, will receive an appearance fee close to seven figures.

Rose still has four events left on the European Tour, of which the Hong Kong Open is one, plus the November 24-27 World Cup on Hainan Island where he will represent England with Poulter.

'I've got four more tournaments to get in on the European Tour to make my minimum,' Rose said, referring to the total of 13 events required to maintain his playing card.

'I love travelling a little bit at the end of the year and my schedule is not too bad. I've got four weeks off now and then two weeks on, two weeks off and three weeks on before I get a nice break over Christmas. It's a commitment to play on both tours and you do sacrifice some time at home, but I think it's worth it.'

Rose, who won his third PGA Tour title at the BMW Championship two weeks ago and lies 17th on the money list with earnings of US$3,401,420, said being away from his young family was the worst aspect of competing on both circuits.

'That's when it's no fun,' said the 31-year-old Englishman, whose next tournament will be the October 27-30 Andalucia Masters in Sotogrande, Spain.

'As a single guy, I'd love to be on the road, I'd love to be seeing Asia and doing all that stuff. But when you've got a 2 1/2-year-old son at home wanting his daddy, that's when travelling gets you down.

'You've got to get the most out of yourself in this game,' said the world No 17, whose wife Kate is expecting their second child, a girl, in late December. 'You never quite know when your career could be up so it's a case of making the most of every single year.'

Rose, a four-time champion on the European Tour, accepts his already glittering resume has one glaring hole - a first major. 'The last couple of seasons, I haven't featured too much in the majors,' he said. 'But going forward, with the experience I have, I should be able to start contending in a few more majors.'