By Y.P. SIVAMsivam@thestar.com.myPhotos by S. S. KANESAN
THE ongoing Maybank Malaysian Open golf championship, offering a total purse of US$1.29mil, is not only about golfers and their scores.
Maybank, besides being the title sponsor of the prestigious championship sanctioned by the Malaysian Golf Association (MGA), Asian Tour and PGA European Tour, has also created a carnival atmosphere at the Saujana Golf and Country Club with marquees and an open-air garden.
Maybank is showcasing some of its key products and services at an exhibition to create greater public awareness. The booth also offers special on-the-spot redemption of Treatspoints for credit cardholders who wish to redeem gifts using their accumulated Treatspoints.
American Express, the official charge card for the Maybank Malaysian Open, will also be having a golf simulator at the Saujana Golf and Country Club for eligible visitors to try their hand at golf. Maybank is the sole issuer and manager of the American Express charge card and merchant acquiring businesses in Malaysia
There will also be giveaways at selected times at the Maybank exhibition booth to help create a festive environment. Maybank has also set up two ATMs.
Children of employees will also have an opportunity to attend the junior golf clinic today.
A Maybank spokesman said the Malaysia Open was an opportunity to promote and develop golf in the country.
“It is also our way of supporting the government's tourism and sports programme. Golf is a sport that has great potential to develop in Malaysia and we hope the country will soon produce a world-class golfer,'' said the spokesman.
The championship is also an excellent opportunity to promote Malaysia as a golf tourist attraction. Tourism Malaysia has set up a booth to distribute pamphlets to participants as well as visitors.
The championship will be telecast live throughout Europe, Asia and North America. An estimated one billion viewers are expected to follow the live telecast.
Hailed as the richest golf championship in Asia (outside Japan), the Open is a congregation of top international golfers.
The stars include Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee, who scored a hole in one enroute to winning the title two years ago, and defending champion South Korea’s Charlie Wi while from Europe there are 2005 US Open champion Michael Campbell, 12-time European Tour winner Thomas Bjorn, leading European Tour player Darren Clarke and Lee Westwood.
Senior Malaysian professional V. Nellan was impressed with the line-up and felt there was no favourite for the title.
“It is going to be an open battle. The stars are here with reputation but that will not count when they tee off. The current hot spell could also play a big part in the championship,'' said Nellan.
The organisers have also lined up other activities for the spectators. Star players are scheduled to conduct coaching clinics for the public. The MGA has also invited their juniors to attend the coaching clinics.
Emirates are also organising a charity hole in one competition. Spectators will also get a chance to watch some trick shots by established golfers.