KUALA LUMPUR: The world’s most successful golf tour will finally make its full debut in the potentially enormous Asian market this week when the CIMB Classic unleashes a coterie of stars in Malaysia.
America’s PGA Tour has lagged behind the more adventurous European Tour with its forays into the vast region but this week’s $7 million tournament in Kuala Lumpur will hope to make up for lost time.
Tiger Woods, the main drawcard, is absent but world number three Phil Mickelson will lead the charge in the first PGA event in Asia to offer points towards the new season’s FedExCup.
Ernie Els, Sergio Garcia, Keegan Bradley, Rickie Fowler and K.J. Choi will also be prowling the undulating Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club on the Malaysian capital’s outskirts from Thursday.
The tournament is one half of a bumper week of golf in Asia with the European Tour’s $7 million BMW Masters in Shanghai also helping kick off the region’s late-season international swing.
Next week, the sport’s biggest names will contest the richest purse ever offered in Asia at the $8.5 million WGC-HSBC Championship, also in Shanghai.