Wednesday, 12 February 2014 | MYT 5:14 PM
Westwood confirms Malaysian Open participation
A file picture of Lee Westwood. He was the winner of the 1997 edition of the Malaysian Open. - AFP Photo
KUALA LUMPUR: England’s Lee Westwood, winner of the 1997 edition, has confirmed his entry for the Maybank Malaysian Open 2014.
Westwood, a former world No. 1 and a multi-title winner since turning professional in 1993, is title sponsors Maybank’s first confirmed star player.
Westwood, who last played in this tournament in 2007, has a huge following in Asia and will hope to come for the Malaysian Open as the US Masters champion, as the Augusta tournament is being held the weekend before.
The Malaysian Open to be held from April 17-20 at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club (KLGCC), promises to be another exciting event and will offer a purse of US$2.75mil (RM9.14mil).
Maybank chairman Tan Sri Megat Zaharuddin Megat Mohd Nor on Wednesday confirmed Westwood’s participation.
“This can be considered a homecoming of sorts for Westwood. Not only is he a former winner, but he was also a touring professional for a Malaysian club.
“His presence is definitely a big boost for the Open and reaffirms our commitment to continue bringing top class personalities to this prestigious tournament, which is recognised as one of Asia’s leading national opens,” he said.
“Westwood’s presence, like that of many other top players we have had in the past, will not only draw the crowd but also strengthen Malaysia’s standing on the global golfing map. Given the growing interest and spectator numbers at the Open, we intend to continue inspiring our local fans and golfers with the opportunity to see the world’s best on our greens, and in the process, raising the standard of golf in Malaysia.”
The Malaysian Open has always attracted high-calibre golfers from around the world including Major winners such as Louis Oosthuizen (The Open 2010), Rory McIlroy (US Open 2011 and PGA Championship 2012), Martin Kaymer (PGA Championship 2010), Charl Schwartzel (US Masters 2011), Todd Hamilton (The Open 2004), Michael Campbell (US Open 2005), Retief Goosen (US Open 2001, 2004), Bernhard Langer (US Masters 1985, 1993), three-time Major winner Padraig Harrington (The Open 2007 and 2008, and 2008 PGA Championship) and Sir Nick Faldo who has won six Majors – US Masters (1989, 1990, 1996) and The Open (1987, 1990, 1992).
Notable Asian players who have played in the Malaysian Open include Thongchai Jaidee, a three-time Asian Tour Order of Merit winner, last year’s Order of Merit winner Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Vijay Singh and South Korea’s K.J. Choi, who is Asia’s most successful golfer with 20 professional wins around the world.