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Golf: ‘Big Easy’ boost for Venetian Macau Open

Four-time major winner Ernie Els will compete in the Macau Open for the first time.

Four-time major winner Ernie Els will compete in the Macau Open for the first time.

 

July 31, 2013: Multiple major winner Ernie Els (pictured) has confirmed he will play in the Asian Tour’s Venetian Macau Open at the Macau Golf and Country Club from October 17-20. The tournament again offers free entry for spectators.

 

One of only six golfers to have won twice at both the US Open (1994, 1997) and The Open Championship (2002, 2012), Els has enjoyed good form recently including a win at the BMW International Open and solid finishes at the last two majors.

 

‘The Big Easy’ boasts 70 pro wins around the world, including two on the Asian Tour (2005 BMW Asian Open in China and 2005 Qatar Masters). Despite being a regular visitor to Asia, the South African has never been to Macau and is relishing the prospect.

 

“I’m excited to be playing in Macau. I’ve never been there before but have heard many good things about the tournament as well as the city itself. The Venetian Macao is known for its world class hospitality and entertainment and I have no doubt it will be a fantastic week on and off the course,” said Els, who recently accepted an invitation to become an Honorary Member and International Ambassador of the Asian Tour.

 

“I like Asia and have enjoyed playing in this part of the world over the years. This spring, I was in Indonesia and Thailand and played well at both tournaments. The Venetian Macau Open is one of the most prestigious events on the Asian Tour, and I hope I will be holding the famous trophy aloft come Sunday.”

 

Jointly organised by Macau Sport Development Board of Macau SAR Government (MSDB) and Golf Association of Macau, the tournament is sanctioned by the latter and the Asian Tour, and promoted by IMG.

 

Kyi Hla Han, Executive Chairman of the Asian Tour, said: “We look forward to Ernie’s participation in the Venetian Macau Open as it will be the first tournament that he will compete in on the Asian Tour after accepting our invitation to become our Honorary Member and International Ambassador. His presence in Macau will be an inspiration to many players.”

 

Following a successful foray into the world of golf last year, The Venetian Macao-Resort-Hotel recently announced it will return as title sponsor of the event for a second successive year.

 

“Ernie Els is a living legend who is well known around the world,” said Edward Tracy, President and Chief Executive Officer of Sands China Ltd. “His presence at this year’s tournament will no doubt attract locals and fans from overseas to come to watch him play and at the same time, experience Macau’s array of hospitality and entertainment. Having a global star such as Ernie here further enhances Macau’s reputation as a top destination in Asia for sport, leisure and business travel.”

 

José Tavares, Acting President of MSDB, is also delighted with Els’ participation. “We are honoured to welcome Ernie Els to Macau this October. Being a legend that he is in the world of golf, we are delighted he has chosen to include our tournament in his playing schedule,” Tavares said.

 

“We look forward to showcasing this great champion all that Macau has to offer and no doubt fans from nearby cities will also travel in to watch the crowd favourite, boosting our tourism.”

 

Since its inauguration in 1998, the tournament has been graced by the presence of some of the world’s best golfers including Lee Westwood, Colin Montgomerie, Nick Faldo, Padraig Harrington, Fred Couples, Ian Woosnam and Mark O’Meara. This year’s event boasts a total prize fund of US$800,000.

 

Sponsors joining The Venetian Macao in support of the tournament include Rolex, Srixon, Air Macau, Blue Girl and Bonaqua, as well as first-time sponsors Lamborghini, Maui Jim, Subway, Hytera and Hong Kong Descente, which carries both the Le Coq Sportif Golf Collection and Munsingwear. Els’ own wine business – Ernie Els Wine – is the Official Wine Sponsor of the 2013 tournament.

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