By Bernie McGuire
HONG KONG (Reuters) - World number two Rory McIlroy's management team are locked in a battle with Chinese customs officials to release the U.S. Open trophy the Northern Irishman won earlier this year so it can be taken to the season-ending Dubai World Championship next week.
McIlroy had been intending to showcase the trophy that he won at the Congressional Country Club in Maryland in June during his final six tournaments of the year, starting at the Shanghai Masters in late October.
Chinese customs officials, however, impounded the trophy when no-one was at the course to receive it.
"The trophy was shipped out in its special protective box to Shanghai ...but there was no one present at the course to receive it so it was taken back to the shipping agents' depot," said Conor Ridge of Horizon Sports, who represent McIlroy.
"So I then got in contact with (sports management company) IMG in order we could at least have the trophy on hand for the following week's HSBC Champions event ...but I was informed that China customs said they were now not releasing the trophy, and they still won't give it to us."
Ridge said they had been forced to get the United States Golf Association, who administer the U.S. Open, involved in an effort to get the trophy released.
(Editing by Greg Stutchbury)