Hong Kong Open organisers will get HK$1.6m sanction fee

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 20 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 20 November, 2012, 3:07am

The Hong Kong Golf Association will receive its sanction fee of HK$1.6 million for hosting the UBS Hong Kong Open that ended on Sunday, a top official said erasing fears that the governing body would be left high-and-dry following the tournament which is co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the European Tour.

"We were never in any danger of not receiving a sanction fee. Yes, 10 per cent of the prize money will come our way," said Peter Aherne, president of the HKGA. "While the association certainly needs the money, we don't have to depend solely on it, as we have revenue from other sources too."

Fears were raised on the eve of the tournament that the HKGA, as well as partners the Asian Tour and the European Tour, would have to forsake the sanction fees from the 2012 tournament due to tight budgeting. It was believed that all three bodies would have to wait until the final accounts were in and that sanction fees would only be handed out if the event was profitable.

But Aherne said the HKGA had been assured of its share. "We always knew we would get our money," Aherne said. "This was agreed well before the tournament began."

Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez was crowned champion - for the third time - at Fanling after he played flawless golf all week to record a one-shot victory as organisers revealed a record crowd of more than 40,000 had attended all four days.

While it was joy for Jimenez, a shroud of uncertainty hangs over the future of Hong Kong's oldest professional sporting event, which celebrated its 54th anniversary last weekend.

Title sponsors UBS have not confirmed if they will continue next year.

The Swiss bankers came in at the last minute to back the 2012 tournament and it is believed to be just a one-off. UBS have backed the tournament for the last eight years.

In an additional blow, the European Tour confirmed that the event will no longer be the penultimate leg in the Race to Dubai and will not be part of its 2013 schedule. Next year's tournament will be moved to early in December, and will become one of the opening events on the European Tour's 2014 calendar.