Kuala Lumpur, January 8: World No. 2 Luke Donald will make his first ever appearance in the Maybank Malaysian Open when the 52nd edition tees off this March 21-24 at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club (KLGCC).
Staged for the fourth consecutive year at KLGCC’s West Course, the tournament will offer a fattened total purse of US$2.75 million, which is an increase of US$250,000 from last year. Since 1999, the Malaysian Open has been co-sanctioned by both the European and Asian Tours and will continue to feature leading players from the two tours along with guaranteed spots for Malaysian professionals and amateurs.
Donald, 35, topped the Money Lists on both sides of the Atlantic in 2011 and has accrued a total of 14 professional titles including seven on the European Tour and five on the PGA Tour. Boasting a fluid swing widely regarded as one of the best in golf, the Englishman will headline what promises to be yet another stellar field for the national Open.
In making the announcement this morning, Maybank chairman Tan Sri Dato’ Megat Zaharuddin Megat Mohd Nor said: “The confirmation of Luke Donald is indeed another boost for the Maybank Malaysian Open. Since we took over the title sponsorship of this tournament in 2006, we have endeavoured to bring world class golfing personalities to Malaysia.
“Donald’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.”
Tan Sri Megat also announced a few initiatives for this year’s event. “For the first time, our Platinum cardholders and above from around the region will be given free access to watch the tournament live. All they have to do is to show their cards at the point of entry.”
He added that Maybank will expand its Corporate Golf Challenge to Singapore, Philippines and Indonesia this year, with the winners earning trips to the tournament with exclusive access to the Maybank Hospitality Marquee and a chance to play the West Course during the Corporate Golf Day.
John Eu, the chief executive officer of event promoters GlobalOne, noted that more ‘star players’ will be unveiled in the coming weeks. “Luke Donald is just the start of many exciting reveals leading up to this year’s tournament. We’ve got so much more planned out leading up to and during the tournament it’s definitely an event not to be missed,” he said.
Malaysian Golf Association (MGA) vice president Datuk Mohamed Zain Yusuf added: “The Maybank Malaysian Open has always been a platform for professional golfers to elevate their performance and propel their careers in the international arena, further. Many of our Malaysian players have benefited tremendously from the exposure and opportunity to play in an international event, alongside professionals from around the world. The Maybank Malaysian Open 2013 will bring out the A-Games of our participants leaving spectators with four days of truly spectacular golf action.” said MGA Vice President Datuk Mohamed Zain Yusuf.
Asian Tour chief executive officer Mike Kerr said: “Every year, the Asian Tour stars look forward to competing in the Maybank Malaysian Open, which is a world-renowned championship. Our talented members have always been successful in this prestigious event with the likes of Arjun Atwal, Anthony Kang, Thongchai Jaidee and Noh Seung-yul winning the championship in recent years. We are pleased to work closely with the Malaysian Golf Association, European Tour and GlobalOne to promote golf at the highest level in Asia where Malaysia contributes immensely towards the growth and success of the Asian Tour through the staging of great events like the Maybank Malaysian Open.”
Keith Waters, the chief operating officer of the European Tour, added: “Luke Donald’s debut in this year’s Maybank Malaysian Open and the increase in the prize fund will serve to further heighten the profile of what is already a well-established and prestigious tournament on The European Tour International Schedule. Since we began co-sanctioning the event in 1999, the stature of the Maybank Malaysian Open has grown year on year, and so we should thank our partners at the Asian Tour and the MGA for all their efforts, as well as the title sponsor Maybank and the promoter GlobalOne.”