Former World No. 1 Lee Westwood will make a long-awaited return to Malaysia when he tees off in the US$2.75 million Maybank Malaysian Open at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country this April 12-15.
Westwood won the tournament in 1997 at age 24 and last played in Malaysia in the 2007 edition of the event. The Englishman has a huge following in Asia and was once the touring professional for Saujana Golf & Country Club. Since turning professional in 1993, Westwood has chalked up no less than 39 titles worldwide including 10 on Asian soil.
In making the first Star Player announcement today, Maybank chairman Tan Sri Dato’ Megat Zaharuddin Megat Mohd Nor, said: “This can be considered a sort of a homecoming for Westwood. Not only is he a former winner, but he was also a touring professional for a Malaysian club. His presence is definitely a big boost for the Maybank Malaysian Open and reaffirms our commitment to continue bringing top class personalities to this prestigious tournament, which is recognised as one of Asia’s leading national opens.
“Westwood’s presence, like many other top players we have had in the past, will not only draw the crowd but also strengthen Malaysia’s standing in the global golfing map. Given the growing interest and spectator numbers at the Maybank Malaysian Open, we intend to continue inspiring our local fans and golfers with the opportunity to see the world’s best on our greens, and in the process, raising the standard of golf in Malaysia.”
Meanwhile, Malaysian Golf Association (MGA) president Tan Sri Dato’ Mohd Anwar Mohd Nor said: “Westwood is a seasoned professional who has won countless of times all over the world, and in Malaysia as well. It is always good to get former champions to play in the Maybank Malaysia Open as we must always tip our hats to the past in order to move forward.”
Other big names are expected to be announced shortly, as the excitement for one of Asia’s leading national opens heats up.
The Asian Tour’s chief executive officer, Mike Kerr said: “I’m delighted many of our top players in the Asian Order of Merit have qualified for this prestigious event. Not only is it one of the leading national opens, but it is also among the oldest with more than 50 years of history behind it.
“I feel our Tour is very competitive and our talented members have always been successful in this prestigious event with the likes of Arjun Atwal, Anthony Kang, Thongchai Jaidee, Noh Seung-yul and Kiradech Aphibarnrat winning the championship in recent years. I hope we can continue this winning tradition this year.”