JOHOR BARU: Asian Tour executive chairman Kyi Hla Han has taken it upon himself to lure his good buddy and former world number one Vijay Singh to compete in the inaugural US$300,000 (RM1.05mil) IRDA Johor Classic, at the Royal Johor Country Club (RJCC) from Aug 9-12.
At stake in the tournament, making its debut in the Asian Tour, is the majestic Sultan Iskandar Cup, which will be given a new shine after it was left to gather dust when the Royal Johor Classic, with a RM500,000 prize money, was discontinued in 1990 after six years.
“I will be in the United States soon for the Masters. I will be meeting up with Vijay and get him to come for the IRDA Johor Classic,” said Hla Han, who incidentally is the first winner of the Cup in 1985.
“It will be a trip down memory lane as Vijay, my brother Chan Han and myself used to stay together at the RJCC in the 80s. To get him to come here means we have to pay him an appearance fee. But I will try my best to get him here without having to pay a high fee or none at all.”
Speaking at the same press conference yesterday, Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman said that the Classic would be an annual affair for five years.
The state government and the Iskandar Region Development Authority (IRDA) will support the baby of the Asian Tour. The IRDA are the driving force behind Johor’s newly-launched Iskandar Development Zone, which is aimed at delivering a first-class global hub for business, living and leisure.
“We are delighted to forge an alliance with the Asian Tour to stage the IRDA Johor Classic, which will showcase the state’s vision and growth,” said Ghani.
“The staging of the Classic will serve as a wonderful platform for us to further promote and develop professional golf in Malaysia, especially in Johor.
“Our ambition is to create a world-class golf tournament, which will see a steady increase in prize money over the years, that will mirror the growth and development of the Iskandar Development Zone.”
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