Open returns after five years – with a path to Olympics

  • Golf
  • Tuesday, 17 Dec 2019

Tokyo in sight: Gavin Kyle Green has a good chance to book his Olympic Games spot at the Malaysian Open which will be held in March.

SHAH ALAM: After a five-year absence, the Malaysian Open golf tournament is back – and this time, it will also offer valuable world ranking points for those still looking for a place in the Tokyo Olympics.

Malaysia’s premier golfing tournament will be held again from March 5-8 at the Kota Permai Golf and Country Club here.

The 55th edition of the Open, last held at the KL Golf and Country Club in 2015, will be sanctioned by the Asian Tour in partnership with the Japan Golf Tour Organisation (JGTO).

Asian Tour Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Cho Minn Thant said this was the best platform for other Malaysian professional golfers to try and nab a second spot to the Olympics.

“Gavin Kyle Green is likely to qualify at the moment. This gives space for one more Malaysian,” he said.

“Not just the Malaysians, but the golfers who are part of the Asian Tour and JGTO will surely want points for the Olympics.

“I foresee a good line-up of Asian golfers here.”

The Tokyo 2020 qualification will be based on the Official World Golf Ranking for men and Women’s World Golf Rankings for women as of 22 June 2020 (men) or 29 June 2020 (women), with a total of 60 players qualifying in each of the men’s and women’s events. The top 15 players of each gender would qualify, with a limit of four athletes per country that can qualify this way.

The remaining spots will go to the highest-ranked players from countries that do not already have two golfers qualified, with a limit of two per country.

Gavin is currently ranked 58th in the Olympic allocation list, as he is ranked 227 in the world.

The Malaysian Open offers total prize money of US$1mil (RM4.13mil) with the champion pocketing US$180,000 (RM743,000).

For MGA president Tan Sri Mohd Anwar Mohd Nor, the return of the prestigious tournament has been long-awaited.

“The 2020 edition will be unique because we have 40 slots for Malaysian golfers. In the past, it was only 22 slots.

“Of the 40, 30 will be professionals, six top amateurs and four top juniors.

“For four years, we had trouble looking for a title sponsor. Now, we can see interest although the prize money has been reduced from US$3mil in the past to US$1mil now.”

Mohd Anwar also announced the appointment of Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’aya-tuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah as MGA’s royal patron, the first time the association has appointed a patron since 1929.

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