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Saturday October 13, 2012

Welcome to Malaysia’s very own Oktoberfest

GERMANY is not the only country having a festival this October.

Now, Malaysia has got its own version of Oktoberfest too – three world-class sporting events back-to-back!

One’s already in full swing. The ongoing Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia is already the talk of the town as the tournament heads into the weekend at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.

I mean, how often do we get a chance to see the world’s top 10 up close and personal at our own doorsteps?

But here they are, all 10 of them: Tseng Yani, Stacy Lewis, Feng Shanshan, Choi Na-yeon, Shin Jiyai, Park In-bee, Ai Miyazato, Suzann Pettersen, Mika Miyazato and Ryu So-yeon.

The tournament oozes class as we also have the likes of Paula Creamer, Michelle Wie, Pak Se-ri, Karrie Webb, Cristie Kerr, Brittany Lincicome, Natalie Gulbis and lots more.

That’s as high-class a field as you’ll ever get.

Come next weekend, the Sepang International Circuit will be a hive of activity as the World MotoGP Championships ride into town.

Again, we’ll have another world-class field converging on Sepang to fight for the world title.

All the big names will be there again.

Championship leader Jorge Lorenzo and his closest challenger Dani Pedrosa, both Spaniards, are involved in a thrilling title race.

Yamaha’s Lorenzo has 290 points – 33 points more than Honda’s Pedrosa.

Defending champion Casey Stoner, Andrea Dovizioso, Valentino Rossi, Nick Hayden and many others will be revving up the Sepang circuit with their brand of no-holds barred riding action.

And don’t forget our very own home-grown rider Zulfahmi Khairuddin, who will be in action in the Moto3 category as well.

But it is the arrival of Tiger Woods, one of the biggest names in sports – if not the biggest – that’s got the whole country abuzz.

Woods, who will compete in the CIMB Classic on Oct 25-28, last played in Malaysia when he won the individual and team titles in the 1999 World Cup.

That’s a long time ago indeed.

Many things have changed in the last 13 years. Then, he was at his prime - simply untouchable and simply out of this world.

But how times have changed.

Woods is no longer invincible. A bunch of young, eager and equally talented group, led by none other than Rory McIlroy, have closed the gap on him and even overtaken him.

But none has the charisma of Tiger Woods.

Nothing fazes Woods, not injuries, not scandals.

He is still the biggest name in golf and it’s a major coup by the organisers to snare him for the tournament.

Whether he will have his A-game on or not is immaterial. It’s his mere presence that matters.

And his presence will surely add credence to the CIMB Classic, which will be a full-fledged PGA Tour event next year.

One can be guaranteed that the Mines Resort and Golf Club, where the CIMB Classic will be held, will be jam-packed, all hoping to catch a glimpse of Woods, a 14-time Major champion.

There’s plenty on the plate for Malaysian sports fans this month. Just lap it all up and enjoy.

But while you are at it, please spare a thought for plucky Muizzuddin Musyaffa Abdu Gafar – the 10-year-old go-karter who broke his right leg in a crash at the WSK Finals Cup in Castelleto, Italy, last weekend.

Let’s all pray that the youngster will recover from this horrendous crash and come back stronger.

Get well soon, Muizz.

R. Manogaran feels that the English Premier League (EPL) is over-rated. Everyone is now an expert, even those born yesterday (and I have seen many of them, including in the office).

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