Not satisfied, it seems, with being the highest paid athlete in the world for several years, Tiger Woods recently breezed past the US$100 million mark in tournament earnings alone. So nothing that follows should really come as a big surprise. Woods is considered by many top golf gurus to be the most successful golfer in history.
Comparisons, they say, are odious, and particularly in this case, given golf’s long history and its ever and dramatically improving technology. But having been awarded the PGA Player of the Year a record 10 times, won 14 major golf tournaments, owned more career major wins and PGA Tour wins than any other active golfer and with years of top golf left in him, it’s sure a case worth pursuing. And soon he’ll be prowling the course at The Mines Resort & Golf Club as the major drawcard in the CIMB Classic – from 25 to 28 October.
The entry of Woods into the CIMB Classic, which is co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour, further bolsters the tournament’s reputation, and it will soon be an official event and part of the FedEx Cup, thus a championship trophy on the PGA Tour for the 2013/14 season. In line with this shift, the tournament will gain Official Money Event status and also an increased field of 78 players, up from the current field of 48. Bo Van Pelt will be back to defend his title, and also seeking a second CIMB crown is 2010 champion, Ben Crane, who – as a matter of interest – is also one of the four members in the PGA exclusive boy band, the Golf Boys (together with Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler and Hunter Mahan).
Van Pelt tore up the final 18 holes last year, carding a 7-under 64 and making five birdies on the last eight. His six-stroke victory earned him the top pot of $1.3 million and an official Asian Tour win. With a profound knowledge of The Mines course, Bo will be one tough nut to crack.
But with Woods lurking, and outstanding US PGA players Jason Dufner (current World No 9!) Ricky Fowler, and Nick Watney – plus let’s not discount some dangerous, highly talented local pros – he’ll certainly have his work cut out for him. Speaking about the lineup this year, Group Chief Executive, CIMB Bank, Dato’ Sri Nazir Razak noted, “The early confirmations will give this year’s event great early momentum. Ben and Bo have developed a good local following; and Woods will be a huge draw, also given his Asean roots.” Watching Woods in his element is pretty much as good as it gets for golf fans, who may or may not have caught him last in KL in 1999 when he took home the World Cup individual title at the same course.
Though without a major title for some time now, he recently came dangerously close and is now getting back to his formidable best. You won’t want to miss this one!
Tin mine to gold mine
Built on what was once the world’s largest open cast tin mine, the course at The Mines Resort is one of Malaysia’s golden golfing venues. Split into the first Crane Nine and second Eagle Nine, the 6,966-yard course boasts an abundance of flora and fauna, with lush, wide tree-lined fairways.
Renowned golf course architect Robert Trent Jones Jr created the immaculate course, and after having designed more than 270 courses across 40 countries, it’s no wonder the former demolished mine wasteland was transformed into the manicured 246-acre work-of-art it is today.
|Tiger Woods |
The World No 2 is considered by many as among the most successful golfers in the history of the sport, along with legends like Jack Nicklaus and Ben Hogan. His stellar record of 74 PGA Tour wins, including 14 majors, over his 17-year career is a feat that speaks entirely for itself. Winning all four professional major championships in a row is one of his many career highlights.
|Bo Van Pelt |
Past winner of the CIMB Classic, the World No 22 scored an impressive tournament low 64 in the 2012 Masters Tournament and gained his maiden victory at the 2009 US Bank Championship, where he beat John Mallinger in a dramatic sudden death playoff on the second extra hole.
|Jason Dufner |
American Professional and current World No 9, 2012 has so far been a good year for Dufner, giving him his first PGA Tour win at the Zurich Classic, and later the HP Byron Nelson Championship in Texas. Dufner’s form has been impressive enough for him to have been selected for the US Ryder Cup team – a singular honour indeed.
|Nick Watney |
The Californian native has played professionally since 2003 and is currently World No 21. He took home his first World Golf Championship in 2011 at the WGCCadillac Championship, two strokes ahead of Dustin Johnson, and has five PGA Tour wins to his name. Watney is also one of only three players on the PGA tour history to record a double eagle in the US Open.
At age 23 one of the youngest top-rank professionals in the game, Fowler defeated Rory Mcllory with a last-hole birdie to earn his first PGA Tour win at the Wells Fargo Championship this year. He won the rookie of the year award in 2010, has since been steadily climbing the world rankings – now No 27 – and was considered unlucky not to make this year’s US Ryder Cup team.
*October 12, 2012 – Rickie Fowler withdraws from CIMB Classic due to back issues