PETALING JAYA: American Ryder Cup hero Ryan Moore and Scotsman Russell Knox are among the latest top names to say “aye’ to the CIMB Classic.
Moore, the most successful golfer in the tournament’s history after clinching back-to-back titles in 2013 and 2014, will again be one of the favourites in the seventh edition of the US$7mil (RM28.8mil) championship at TPC Kuala Lumpur from Oct 20-23.
The 33-year-old is now in the best form of his life.
After claiming his fifth PGA Tour title at the John Deere Classic in August, Moore came agonisingly close to adding the prestigious Tour Championship crown to his collection a fortnight ago.
Moore had to settle for joint second with compatriot Kevin Chappell, who’s also set for the CIMB Classic, after they lost to Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland in a three-way playoff at the season-ending event.
Moore eventually finished a career-high seventh in the FedExCup standings and was picked for the Ryder Cup. The rookie beat Lee Westwood in the singles to clinch the winning point as the US reclaim the trophy with a 17-11 win over Europe in Minnesota on Sunday.
As for world No. 19 Knox, he will be featuring in his second CIMB Classic. Knox was the winner at the WGC-HSBC Champions in China, November last year. This season, he was the winner of the Travelers Championship in August.
Moore and Knox will join a cast of international stars like world No. 6 Adam Scott of Australia, American Patrick Reed (No. 7), England’s Paul Casey (No. 12), Spain’s Sergio Garcia (No. 13) and Japanese Hideki Matsuyama (No. 18).
Also in the fray are defending champion Justin Thomas of the US and Major winners Keegan Bradley of the US, South African Ernie Els and Vijay Singh of Fiji.
The 66 PGA Tour players committed to Malaysia’s most bankable tournament have a combined 156 wins on the world’s most lucrative Tour.
CIMB Group chief executive officer Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Aziz was pleased with the depth of the field.
“This year’s list features nine of the top 13 on the final FedExCup rankings. It’s one of the best line-ups in our tournament history. We are extremely excited, and fans can definitely look forward to a great show in three weeks’ time,” said Tengku Zafrul.
Malaysia will be represented by Gavin Kyle Green, who booked his spot through the SapuraKencana National Qualifier, and the best-ranked golfer on the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) on Oct 11. Danny Chia is currently the national No. 1.
The top 10 in the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit will make up the 78-man field.