Watson, Els and Garcia sign on for CIMB Classic

Bubba Watson, Ernie Els and Sergio Garcia have added even more star power to this year’s CIMB Classic, which will feature 20 of the top 50 players in the world when it tees-off at Kuala Lumpur GCC on October 24-27.

Bubba Watson

Bubba Watson

The trio are the latest big-name additions to the US$7 million event, which is the first official PGA Tour event in Asia with coveted FedExCup points on offer. They join other world stars such as Phil Mickelson, Brandt Snedeker, Rickie Fowler, Keegan Bradley and defending champion Nick Watney.

Co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Professional Golf Association of Malaysia (PGAM), the fourth edition of the tournament will see the winner pocket a cheque for US$1.26 million along with a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour and a spot in the 2014 Masters. The complete field will comprise 60 players from the PGA Tour, the top 10 available players from the Asian Tour (based on the Order of Merit as at October 7) and eight sponsor’s exemptions including Malaysian national qualifier winner Rashid Ismail.

“This is a stellar field and the strongest ASEAN has ever seen – 20 of the Top 50 players in the world and 15 Major championship victories and 170 PGA Tour wins collectively. With so many great players taking to the course, we are bound to see some fantastic golf,” said Dato’ Sri Nazir Razak, Group Chief Executive of CIMB Group.

“With its ascension to a full-fledged US PGA Tour event, the CIMB Classic is now Malaysia’s biggest international sporting event and will showcase golf in our country to at least 700 million viewers worldwide,” he added.

The long-hitting Watson will be one of the tournament’s biggest drawcards as he will be making his first-ever appearance in Malaysia. The flamboyant left-hander won the 2012 Masters after defeating Louis Oosthuizen on the second playoff hole with a 90-degree shot out of the trees.

Former World No. 1 Els will be making his second appearance in the CIMB Classic, having finished joint fifth in 2010. The South African legend has won 66 professional titles worldwide including four Majors in the 1994 and 1997 US Opens and the 2002 and 2012 British Opens.

Enigmatic Spaniard Garcia will be playing in the CIMB Classic for the first time and will be aiming for his second title on Malaysian soil, having won the Asian Tour’s season-ending Iskandar Johor Open in 2012.

Other notables in the field include 2011 FedExCup champion Bill Haas, 2012 US Open champion Webb Simpson, 2010 British Open winner Stewart Cink and rising Japanese star Hideki Matsuyasma.

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