Any share of the $6 million purse won’t jump you up the PGA Tour money list but the CIMB Asia Pacific Classic Malaysia still has the endorsement of the world’s biggest professional golf tour and the hype to match.
There is strange compendium of golfers on hand this week in Malaysia and the eclectic field of 40 should make the first PGA Tour co-sanctioned event in Southeast Asia quite a show.
In temperatures north of 90 degrees with humidity only taking the effect to a higher level, things could get warm around The Mines Resort & Golf Club, and a few players are hoping it also warms up their games as they prepare for next week’s World Golf Championships – HSBC Champions to be played in Shanghai.
With this tournament co-sanctioned by the PGA Tour, Asian Tour, and the Professional Golf Association of Malaysia (PGAM) the result is a tournament that mixes a wide variety of players all the way from World #8 Ranked Player Luke Donald to the players that few Western golf fans would know (but should) like the Asian Tour’s #1 player, teen sensation Noh Seung-yul.
The 40-player field features the top 25 (and then top available players) from the final FedExCup standings, top 10 from the 2010 Asian Tour Order of Merit, as well as five sponsor exemptions. Thirteen players that competed at THE TOUR Championship presented by Coca-Cola are in the field.
Besides Donald, there is no shortage of high-wattage stars on hand in Malaysia seeking the $1 million first prize. Add to that list the likes of Players Champion Tim Clark, recent PGA Grand Slam winner Ernie Els, always popular Adam Scott, and Retief Goosen.
From an American angle you can look to Ryan Palmer, Rickie Fowler, Ryan Moore, and Bill Haas as standouts.
Putting up the defense from the Asian contingent will be the likes of 3-time Asian Tour Order of Merit winner, Thongchai Jaidee, and 2009 U.S. PGA Champion, Y.E. Yang.
The highly polished MINES Golf Club, while an appropriate venue as the premier luxurious golf destination in Malaysia, will likely end up a little battered this week. At less than 7,000 yards and with the ball flying in the heat it should serve up a short game contest where under par scoring is the norm each of the four tournament rounds.
Look to hole #15 for excitement during Golf Channel programming each evening. At 292 yards this par four will tempt many players to drive it off the tee but can still prove tricky even with a conservative line of play due to a small putting surface.
It will be tough to have an early pick with this field since it should be quite a shootout right to the end. You’ll likely need 20 birdies on your card over this week to have a chance. And in looking on this 40-man field there are plenty of guys not only capable, but willing, to take it deep in the heat of Malaysia.