Johor, November 13: Reigning British Open champion Ernie Els of South Africa and former US Open champion Michael Campbell of New Zealand are the latest international stars to join the field for the Iskandar Johor Open at Horizon Hills Golf and Country Club this December 13-16.
This is the first outing for both players at the US$2 million Asian Tour season-ender. Veteran Els has enjoyed a successful 2012 season, highlighted by his fourth Major win in the Open at Royal Lytham & St Annes and a runner-up finish at the recent WGC-HSBC Champions in China.
Nicknamed the ‘Big Easy’ for his effortless swing, Els has more than 60 victories worldwide including two US Opens, two British Opens and a record seven World Match Play titles. He was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.
“I am looking forward to playing in the Iskandar Johor Open. I’m doing a couple of golf courses around the corner from there and it’ll be a good time to be down in Malaysia,” said Els, referring to the multi-million dollar revamp of the Desaru course.
“Middle of December, I’m not going to be playing a lot of golf. I’ll have a bit of a holiday after the event but the start of the year will be just around the corner. I like to kick start 2013 with the last event of the year, so to speak and it’ll be very nice,” added Els.
Kiwi Campbell has been back in contention for victories this season with a strong showing particularly in the second half of the year, including a third place at the Portugal Masters. He also tied for 11th at the Alstom Open de France and tied for 14th at the Omega European Masters.
Campbell, who has played in Malaysia several times before, starts his 20th year as a professional in January. He has eight European Tour wins to his name and became the first New Zealander to win a Major for over 30 years when he claimed the US Open title in 2005.
“I have always enjoyed playing in Malaysia but it will be my first time playing the Iskandar Johor Open and I am looking forward to being a contender. My game is in a good place at the moment and I am looking to continue the momentum I’ve gained from solid performances over the past few months. It would be great to end the year with a victory at Horizon Hills Golf Club so I’ll be going all out to achieve it,” said Campbell.
With Spanish star Sergio Garcia and Thai icon Thongchai Jaidee also in the line-up, the Iskandar Johor Open is gearing up to host yet another stellar field with more player announcements to be made in the coming weeks.
The Johor State Government and Johor Golf Association are continuing with their support of this event, which is presented by Iskandar Waterfront Holdings. Past champions include Padraig Harrington (2010), K.J. Choi (2009), Retief Goosen (2008) and Artemio Murakami (2007), while Dutchman Joost Luiten triumphed at Horizon Hills last year.