Photo - Asian Tour
MAJOR CHAMPION HARRINGTON AND MONTGOMERIE ADD STAR FLAVOUR TO THE ISKANDAR JOHOR OPEN 2010
Johor Bahru, August 26, 2010: The field for the Iskandar Johor Open (IJO) 2010 just gets better and better as organizers announced today the confirmation of three-time major winner, Padraig Harrington and Europe’s 2010 Ryder Cup captain, Colin Montgomerie for the US$1.25 million championship to be held at Horizon Hills Golf & Country Club from October 14 to 17, 2010.
Together with defending champion K.J. Choi of Korea and South African Retief Goosen, these celebrated European Tour stalwarts will lead an impressive line-up of international players in one of Malaysia’s biggest and richest professional golf championships.
“The field for the Iskandar Johor Open is shaping up impressively with the confirmation of Padraig Harrington and Colin Montgomerie. With K.J. Choi and Retief Goosen already set to rekindle their rivalry this October, this surely is going to be one of the most exciting weeks of golf in Malaysia,” said Chairman of the IJO organizing committee and Menteri Besar of Johor, Y.A.B Dato’ Haji Abdul Ghani bin Othman.
Iskandar Regional Development Authority Chief Executive Ismail Ibrahim added: “We are truly excited to welcome the star quartet to the championship. The participation of these luminaries of world golf will certainly bolster the profile of the Iskandar Johor Open as one of the leading and most exciting golf championships in the country and the region.”
The hardworking Harrington, who will turn 39 on August 31 this year, is no stranger to Malaysian golf fans having played in the Malaysian Open for a number of years. His most notable finish in Malaysia was in 2001 when he lost in a playoff to Vijay Singh.
Since then, the affable Irishman has gone on to greater heights, capturing three major championship titles including consecutive British Open titles in 2007 and 2008, making him the firstEuropean since James Braid in 1906 to successfully defend the Open. Harrington went on to create another slice of golf history with his victory in the PGA Championship at Oakland Hills in 2008 which made him the first European to win the Wanamaker Trophy since Scotland’s Tommy Armour in 1930.
“I’ve played in Malaysia a number of times but never in Johor and I’m thrilled with the prospect of playing against some of the world’s best players in the Iskandar Johor Open. It has been a few years since I last played in Malaysia and I’m looking forward to returning to the country which holds many fond memories for me,” said Harrington who is currently ranked 18 on the World Ranking.
With 31 European Tour victories, Montgomerie is certainly one of the world’s most successful players. Having been the bedrock of Europe’s Ryder Cup team for a good part of two decades, the Scot has stepped up to the plate and will captain the continent to another Ryder Cup showdown against the Americans on October 1. Like Harrington, Montgomerie will also be making his first appearance at the Iskandar Johor Open.
“I’ve heard a lot about Iskandar Johor Open and how competitive the championship is. It will be delightful to tee-up against top players like Pádraig, Retief and K.J. as well as playing alongside many of the Asian Tour’s top talents right after the Ryder Cup. I certainly look forward to an exciting week in Johor this October,” said Montgomerie.
For Goosen, the Iskandar Johor Open this year will mark his third appearance in the championship and he will return with many good memories. In 2008, the two-time major champion ended a frustrating 21-month title drought with a magnificent two-stroke victory at the Johor Country Club that extended his proud winning record of having won at least an individual or team title since 1995. Last year, Goosen staged a remarkable final round of nine birdies and an eagle at Johor Country Club for a ten-under-par 62 to finish in a share of third place.
“The Iskandar Johor Open has truly grown in prominence since my victory in 2008. I came close last year but that was on a different golf course. This year, it will be a new challenge at Horizon Hills, bigger prize money and a more competitive field. I’m eager to return to Johor for another exciting edition of the championship,” said the world number 16.
Meanwhile, Choi needs no introduction to the local golf fans. Promising a career revival at the start of the championship last year, he kept to his words with a final round 64 for a three-day total of 20-under-par 196 to win the championship that was reduced to 54 holes due to inclement weather. His superb play aside, Choi is remembered for his generousity in donating his winnings to six Johor-based charities.
“I am excited to return to the Iskandar Johor Open for the second year. I had a fantastic championship last year, not only due to the win but also for the way the fans were supporting me the entire week. You don’t easily forget such affection from the fans. I know it will not be easy this time around with the presence of top players like Retief, Padraig and Colin but I intend to repay the fans’ support by having another go at the title,” said Choi.
Sanctioned by the Asian Tour, the official regional sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia and the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia, the Iskandar Johor Open 2010 will be contested by 144 players.
Asian Tour Executive Chairman, Kyi Hla Han added: “The participation of these top players is testament to the strength and depth of the Iskandar Johor Open as a premier golf championship in the region. It bodes well for our talented members as they will get the opportunity to compete against these leading lights.”
Grant Slack, Vice President of the Golf Division, IMG commented: “The Iskandar Johor Open 2010 is truly shaping up as one of the leading championships in the region attracting a strong field of top players. With these top golfing stars making their appearance this year, it will further significantly raise the international profile of the championship which is already attracting400 million viewers in over 40 countries around the world.”