Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: CIMB Group announced today an early cast of international stars that have committed to play at this year’s CIMB Classic at Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club (KLGCC) from 30 October – 2 November. The commitments received thus far comprise Major champions, the reigning FedExCup champion, Ryder Cup team members, CIMB Classic past champions and fast rising Asian stars.
Leading the early commitments is World No. 3 Sergio Garcia, and he is joined by 2014 FedExCup champion Billy Horschel, as well as Asia’s leading golfers Hideki Matsuyama and Ryo Ishikawa. Defending champion Ryan Moore will return to KLGCC to defend his 2013 CIMB Classic title, and also returning to the country is 2014 Malaysian Open Champion Lee Westwood.
Other early commitments were also received from Americans Jimmy Walker and Patrick Reed, who will join Garcia and Westwood at the 2014 Ryder Cup in Gleneagles, Scotland. The CIMB Classic will also welcome its first Chinese national after 15-year-old Guan Tianlang accepted a sponsor’s invite to compete.
The CIMB Classic 2014, now in its fifth year, will feature a 78-player elite field, comprising 60 from the PGA TOUR, 10 from the Asian Tour and eight sponsor’s exemptions. The PGA TOUR player commitment deadline for the tournament is 8 October 2014.
“In just 5 years, the CIMB Classic has taken its place among the largest tournaments in the world and the stage is once again set for some world-class golf,” said Effendy Shahul Hamid, Group Chief Marketing & Communications Officer of CIMB Group. “If these early commitments are anything to go by, come October, Malaysia will once again showcase a stellar collection of the best players from across the globe.”
Returning to the CIMB Classic is eight-time PGA TOUR winner and world No. 3 Sergio Garcia. Garcia had three runner-up finishes on the 2013-14 PGA TOUR season including the Open Championship and the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational. Garcia finished T11 at the 2013 CIMB Classic and finished the season ranked No. 13 on the FedExCup standings.
Also returning to the CIMB Classic is Billy Horschel, the newly minted FedExCup champion. Despite missing the cut at The Barclays, Horschel rallied and delivered one of the best closing stretches in PGA TOUR history, finishing T2 at the Deutsche Bank Championship and winning both the BMW Championship and TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola, becoming the youngest FedExCup champion in history. Horschel’s win at East Lake moved him into the top-15 of the Official World Golf Rankings.
Hideki Matsuyama and Ryo Ishikawa are two of the PGA TOUR’s young and rising international stars and two of Japan’s most recognised sportsmen. Matsuyama, 22, recorded his first PGA TOUR victory earlier this year and finished T25 at the 2013 CIMB Classic. Ishikawa, fondly known as the “Bashful Prince”, also 22 years old, has played in 90 events on the PGA TOUR with two runner-up finishes thus far. Ishikawa has 12 victories worldwide and will be playing in his first CIMB Classic. At age 15, Ishikawa became the youngest player to win on the Japan Golf Tour in 2007, and subsequently became the youngest ever to break through the top-50 in Official World Golf Rankings two years later.
American Jimmy Walker is also set to return after a stellar season, having led the FedExCup standings for a record 36 weeks, with three wins and ten top-10s including a sole 6th place at last year’s CIMB Classic. Walker finished the 2013-14 FedExCup season ranked No. 7, and successfully earned a place on the US Ryder Cup team for the first time.
Former World No. 1 Lee Westwood who has won a tournament in every continent, will be making his CIMB Classic debut on the back of a victory at KLGCC via the Malaysian Open earlier this year. With a total of 40 professional wins worldwide, Westwood’s season highlights include a 7th place finish at the 2014 Masters, and T6 at THE PLAYERS Championship. Westwood will be making his 9th consecutive appearance for the European team at the Ryder Cup.
Guan Tianlang, China’s 15-year-old golf prodigy, is considered one of the best amateurs in the world and will play at the CIMB Classic under a sponsor’s invite. Guan made global headlines when he became the youngest ever player to play and make the cut at the 2013 Masters Tournament, earning rave reviews along the way.
The CIMB Classic, which is also co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Professional Golf Association of Malaysia is part of the season-long PGA TOUR FedExCup competition. Malaysia will have two representatives – Danny Chia who won the SapuraKencana National Qualifier booked one of the places, with the other place going to the highest ranked Malaysian golfer in the world rankings as at 20 October 2014