Kuala Lumpur, September 21: Next month’s CIMB Classic will feature 10 Major champions, 10 Presidents Cup team members, 15 players from the top-50 of the Official World Golf Ranking and 18 winners from the PGA Tour’s 2016-17 season.
Following the PGA Tour player commitment deadline on September 20, two-time defending champion and World No. 4 Justin Thomas of the USA will be joined in the eighth edition by nine fellow Major winners – compatriots Keegan Bradley, Stewart Cink, Jason Dufner, Lucas Glover and Davis Love III, South African stars Ernie Els, Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel, as well as Irish legend Padraig Harrington.
Aside from the 24-year-old Thomas and world No. 20 Patrick Reed who will represent Team USA in the Presidents Cup in New Jersey next week, International Team members Branden Grace, Oosthuizen and Schwartzel of South Africa, Emiliano Grillo of Argentina, Canada’s Adam Hadwin, South Korea’s Si Woo Kim, Anirban Lahiri of India and Venezuela’s Jhonattan Vegas will also star in the CIMB Classic.
The US$7 million CIMB Classic is the sole PGA Tour event in Southeast Asia and features an elite 78-man field at TPC Kuala Lumpur on October 12-15.
Tengku Dato’ Sri Zafrul Aziz, Group Chief Executive, CIMB Group, said: “We are pleased to once again welcome a truly world-class line-up of golfers at this year’s CIMB Classic, which will feature an eclectic mix of 46 PGA Tour winners ranging from established PGA Tour champions, veteran stars and emerging young talents. Eighteen players from this group have won tournaments during the 2016-17 season and collectively, the Tour winners assembling at the CIMB Classic have a combined 140 tournament victories between them, including 14 Major victories.
“The strong representation of international golfers which includes 15 players from within the top-50 of the Official World Golf Ranking reinforces the CIMB Classic’s prestige and stature as the leading golf tournament in the ASEAN region.”
World No. 16 Paul Casey of England, the 19th-ranked Rafa Cabrera Bello of Spain, Europe’s Ryder Cup stalwart Ian Poulter, 2011 Masters champion Charl Schwartzel, this season’s The Players Championship winner Si Woo Kim of South Korea and South African star Branden Grace, who wrote golfing history at the British Open by becoming the first man to shoot a 62 in a Major in July, have also confirmed their participation.
India’s Anirban Lahiri, who recently concluded his second season on the PGA Tour by finishing in 51st position on the FedExCup standings, will chase for the CIMB Classic title again after coming close with a T3 finish last year. He won the Malaysian Open at TPC Kuala Lumpur in 2015 en route to becoming the Asian Tour Order of Merit champion.
China’s rising star Li Haotong, who enjoyed a standout 3rd place finish at the British Open in July after closing with a stunning 63, will also feature in his first CIMB Classic tournament on a sponsor’s invitation.
Veteran swinger Love, who finished T8 in his lone appearance at the CIMB Classic in 2014, will arrive in Malaysia with the most PGA Tour victories – 21 – under his belt, followed by the ‘Big Easy’, Els, who holds 19 wins including four Major titles.
Apart from 60 being eligible from the PGA Tour, the top-10 from the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit as at October 9 will qualify for the CIMB Classic plus eight sponsor’s exemptions. Two of the sponsor’s exemptions will be allocated to Malaysian golfers where veteran Danny Chia has taken the first spot after winning the CIMB National Championship in July.
He will be joined by the highest ranked non-exempt Malaysian on the Official World Golf Ranking as of October 2. Local prospect Gavin Green will also qualify for the CIMB Classic by virtue of his current third position on the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit.
The CIMB Classic is also sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Professional Golf Association of Malaysia (PGAM). Advance tickets are now on sale on www.ticketpro.com.my, Ticket Pro sales channels and selected MST Golf Stores in the Klang Valley.