Up for grabs: Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Steven Sim Chee Keong (right) and CIMB Group CEO Tengku Datuk Sri Zafrul Aziz posing with the CIMB Classic trophy at the launch yesterday.
— S. S. Kanesan / The Star
KUALA LUMPUR: There is no increase in the prize money for the 9th CIMB Classic from Oct 11-14 at The Players Club (TPC) in Kuala Lumpur but the competition will be hotter than before.
The total purse for the sole PGA Tour sanctioned tournament in South East Asia remains at US$7mil (RM28 mil).
The good news is that Pat Perez of the United States will return to defend his title after a dominant four-shot victory over compatriot Keegan Bradley last year.
The CIMB Classic will feature 60 professional golfers from the 2017-2018 PGA Tour’s FedExCup final points standings.
Two Malaysian golfers will also have the opportunity to compete against the global stars during the tournament.
One slot has been allocated to the winner of the CIMB National Championships, which will be held from Sept 25-28 at the TPC Kuala Lumpur while the other is reserved for the Malaysian with the highest ranking on the Official World Golf Ranking on Oct 1.
Tengku Zafrul said since the CIMB Classic swung into action eight years ago, it has helped raise the profile of Malaysia to a global audience of over 1 billion homes and 226 countries via live broadcast annually.
“It has also helped the grown of the game in Malaysia by inspiring and providing opportunities for Malaysian professional golfers,” said Tengku Zafrul.
The CIMB Classic has also proven to be a successful launchpad for many of the game’s newest stars.
Justin Thomas won the first PGA Tour tournament at the 2015 CIMB Classic before successfully defending his title in 2016. He has since gone on to win a total of nine PGA Tour tournaments.
Meanwhile, Rhinehart said they were pleased to announce the return of Perez and would unveil other leading names over the coming weeks.
“The closing date for entry is Sept 19,” said Rhinehart.
Since its first staging, the CIMB Classic has attracted top professional golfers such as Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Henrik Stenson, Adam Scott, Sergio Garcia, Bubba Watson,Rickie Fowler and Ernie Els.
Tickets for the CIMB Classic will go on sale beginning on Sept 3. For more details on ticketing prices, visit .-thestar online.