Press Release Summary: The UBS Hong Kong Open - already considered Asia's heritage tournament - has become even more high profile with the unveiling of the European Tour's new International Schedule.
Press Release Body: The Fanling showpiece will feature twice in the extended 2009 programme, which begins early next month and concludes almost 13 months later.
And that means next year's UBS Hong Kong Open will be the final event prior to the money-spinning inaugural Dubai World Championship, in which only the top 60 players on the money list will take part.
The scene will be set for a battle royal at Fanling next year as players scramble to qualify for the Dubai event, which will carry prize money of US$10 million and a bonus pool of another US$10 million.
"With a rich history and tradition stretching back 50 years, the UBS Hong Kong Open has developed into a hugely popular and prestigious destination on the European Tour International Schedule," said European Tour chief executive George O'Grady.
"Now even greater significance will be attached to the UBS Hong Kong Open in the coming months. Not only is next month's 50th anniversary tournament at Fanling the second counting event towards the Race to Dubai - formerly the European Tour Order of Merit - but the 51st edition next November will be the final event prior to the world's richest tournament, the inaugural Dubai World Championship.
"Without question, this will create an enormous sense of drama and excitement as the leading players in the Race to Dubai battle for one of the top 60 places which will secure admission to the season-ending climax and the opportunity to win the US$10 million bonus pool."
The UBS Hong Kong Open - first staged in 1959 - is the oldest professional sports event in Hong Kong and is considered the "jewel in the crown" of Asian golf with a heritage that no other tournament in the region can match.
The 2008 tournament will be held at the Hong Kong Golf Club in Fanling from November 20-23.
The 2009 UBS Hong Kong Open will take place from November 12-15 - one week before the Dubai World Championship.
From 2010, the European Tour will revert to a calendar-year programme starting with the South African Open in January and concluding with the Dubai World Championship in November.
The Dubai World Championship, to be staged at Jumeirah Golf Estates, will carry a first prize of US$1.6 million within its US$10 million prize fund.
The bonus pool of US$10 million will be shared by the top 15 players in the Race to Dubai after the tournament, with the race winner taking away US$2 million.
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