Daly's visit to HK in doubt after Australia walk-off

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 12 November, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 12 November, 2011, 12:00am

John Daly's appearance at the UBS Hong Kong Open next month is up in the air as the Hong Kong Golf Association awaits his fate, after the angry American stormed off the course during the opening round of the Australian Open on Thursday.

'We know he has been banned from playing in the Australian PGA [in two weeks] but as far as I know, the European Tour hasn't suspended him,' HKGA chief executive Iain Valentine said yesterday. 'But we have no idea if he will turn up in Hong Kong.'

Daly (pictured) has been invited by the HKGA as part of the government's Mega Events Fund initiative.

The American is to receive a six-figure US-dollar promotional fee to appear at the December 1-4 showpiece at the Hong Kong Golf Club.

Daly, who has slumped to 666 in the world rankings, now has to depend on special invitations to take part in top tournaments.

'Daly is part of a number of golfers invited by the Mega Events Fund this year. He is still a huge drawcard, and he loves coming to Hong Kong,' Valentine said. 'He has played twice before at this tournament, and the fans love him.'

The long-hitting American hit seven balls into the water at the 11th hole in Thursday's opening round, visibly upset after recording a triple bogey at the previous hole where he was handed a two-stroke penalty for hitting a practice ball out of a bunker believing it was his. He shook hands with his playing partners and left the course, after which officials banned him from the Australian PGA.

The US$2.75 million UBS Hong Kong Open is jointly sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the European Tour, and for the first time is being backed by the government's Mega Events Fund, which has given it HK$8million.