Hong Kong Open organisers confident wilting Justin Rose will be fit to appear at US$2 million event
Organisers of this week’s tournament dismiss fears reigning champion might pull out due to the recurrence of back problems
Organisers of this week’s UBS Hong Kong Open have dismissed fears reigning champion and Olympic gold medal winner Justin Rose might miss the US$2 million event due to the recurrence of back problems that have plagued the world number 15 this year.
“We are aware that the UBS Hong Kong Open defending champion Justin Rose withdrew from the Hero World Challenge last week, but he remains committed to playing at the Hong Kong Golf Club this week from 8 – 11 December,” said a statement from the European Tour, which co-sanctions the Hong Kong Open with the Asian Tour.
“He is due to touch down in Hong Kong on Tuesday and we look forward to welcoming Justin back and watching him live in action later this week.”
The 36-year-old Englishman was back in action after an eight-week injury-enforced break at the 18-man Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas at the end of last week, but only lasted a round (of two-over par 75) before tucking his clubs away.
That led to some reports that Rose’s year was over, and that he would head back into rehabilitation for disc problems that first flared at The Players Championship in May – a move which would have effectively ruled him out of the event at the Hong Kong Golf Club, which starts on Thursday.
Rose had played 21 events over the past 12 months, including the Ryder Cup, before taking a break from the game to work out his injury issues.
Last year Rose held his nerve – and saw off the challenge of Denmark’s Lucas Bjerregaard – to win the Hong Kong Open by a stroke.
In the 12 months since he has etched out a place in the game’s history by winning the gold at the Rio de Janeiro Games, as golf returned to the Olympics following an absence of 112 years.
Rose is joined in Hong Kong this week by Ryder Cup teammate and Masters champion Danny Willett, ranked 11th in the world, and world number eight Patrick Reed, one of the victorious Americans from that famous victory at Hazeltine National in September.