The field size for the joint PGATour and Asian Tour event has been increased from 40 at its debut last year, to 48 this year. The CIMB Group has also opted to use its sponsor’s exemptions to increase the number of Malaysians from last year’s one to two players in 2011.
The tournament will see the top 30 available players from the PGATour’s final FedEx Cup rankings, the top 10 available players from the Asian Tour Order of Merit and eight sponsors’ exemptions including the two Malaysians, competing. The Classic now also boasts the richest winner’s purse for an officially sanctioned event in Asia Pacific, with the winner receiving a whopping USD1.3 million, an increase of USD300,000 from last year. Total prizemoney has been increased from USD6 million to USD6.1 million.
Top names that have confirmed their presence thus far are Stewart Cink, Angel Cabrera, and defending champion, Ben Crane. The full field will be announced after the final FedEx Cup rankings in late September.
In the official announcement of the tournament at the Prime Minister’s office at Putrajaya yesterday, Datuk Nazir Razak, Group Chief Executive of CIMB Group said, “We expect this year’s tournament to be bigger and better. The enhancements we have made to the player field and purse sets the stage for an exciting week at the end of October”.
After taking into account feedback from various stakeholders, we are also happy to announce that we will be using two of our sponsor’s exemptions to increase the number of Malaysians in the field from one to two”.
In addition, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Haji Abdul Razak also pledged the government’s support for The Classic as the tournament further strengthened Malaysia’s role as a world class sports tourism destination. Furthermore, the PM readily admits that it is his boyhood dream to see a PGATour sanctioned competition to be held on Malaysian soil and efforts should be made to bring the Tour itself to the country.
Last year the tournament witnessed one of the strongest professional fields ever in the ASEAN region, with the likes of Ernie Els, Adam Scott, Luke Donald, Robert Allenby, Retief Goosen and Ricky Fowler.
In its debut, the tournament also received 1,457 hours of broadcast in 29 languages to a global audience in over 500 million households worldwide and hosted over 20,000 spectators on course.
Also present at the official announcement were the Minister of Tourism, Datuk Sri Dr. Ng Yen Yen, PGATour officials, CIMB Group executives, and organizers.