European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley insists he has no concerns over the safety of players at this month’s Hong Kong Open despite ongoing civil unrest in the city.
The protests began in early June over a now-shelved extradition bill to mainland China that many saw as Beijing’s creeping interference on legal and other rights guaranteed to Hong Kong when the former British colony returned under Chinese rule in 1997.
The movement has since expanded to include other demands, including direct elections for the city’s leaders and an independent investigation into alleged police brutality.
Several sporting events have been cancelled due to the unrest, including the PGA Tour-China’s Clearwater Bay Open and the Hong Kong Open tennis and squash tournaments, but the first event on the European Tour’s 2019-20 season is set to go ahead from November 28 to December 1.
“There are some events that are continuing and some that aren’t, ours is one of the events that is continuing,” Pelley told the PA news agency.
“The only thing that we have checked with our security advisers is the safety of the players and the safety of our staff, and neither are at risk.
“There are a couple of events that were happening right in the area (of the protests) but Fanling is not in that area. We’ll monitor it on a weekly basis but we’re comfortable with the tournament going ahead.”
Former Masters champion Patrick Reed will contest the event for the fourth time and told PA he had no concerns.
“No, not at all,” Reed said. “I talked to the European Tour, the tournament director and it’s completely safe to go over.
“Of course our team’s watching it closely but at the end of the day I feel completely safe. I absolutely love going to Hong Kong and you get protests everywhere.
“It doesn’t matter what city you’re in, what state, what country, there’s always going to be a bad spot. Just be mindful of where you’re going at all times and when you do that you don’t have to worry about anything.
“I’ve been going to Hong Kong for years and every time it’s been an absolutely amazing experience and I look forward to getting back there and playing some good golf.”