KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- Phil Mickelson is heading to Malaysia later this year for the CIMB Classic.
The PGA Tour announced Thursday that CIMB Classic is moving from The Mines to Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club for the Oct. 24-27 tournament. For the first time, the Malaysia event will be an official tournament on the 2013-14 schedule.
Tiger Woods played in the tournament last year. Along with Mickelson, past winners Nick Watney, Bo Van Pelt and Ben Crane are early commitments. One appeal of moving to Kuala Lumpur is that the course is about five miles from the heart of downtown.
The CIMB Classic is one week before the HSBC Champions in Shanghai, the final World Golf Championship of the year.
"The CIMB Classic is now a marquee event on the PGA Tour calendar. The event has grown from strength to strength over the last four years. This year it makes its debut as a full-fledged PGA Tour FedExCup event with an increased field and a new venue,” said Dato’ Sri Nazir Razak, Group Chief Executive, CIMB Group. “KLGCC is a venue that will give us the scale we need to take it to the next level.”
Opened in 1991, the West and East Courses were completely redesigned and re-opened in 2008 and 2010, respectively. The course is no stranger to world-class golf, serving as the host of the European Tour and Asian Tour’s co-sanctioned Malaysian Open for the past four years, as well as the LPGA Malaysia for the past three.
With the PGA Tour’s 2013 FedExCup season currently on its path toward the playoffs in August and September, there is added anticipation toward the newly aligned 2013-14 season starting this October. The new start of the season includes the CIMB Classic, which will award FedExCup points as part of the season-long 2013-14 FedExCup competition, making it the first official FedExCup event on the PGA Tour to be held in Asia. With official FedExCup points being awarded, more PGA Tour players are expected to make the trip to Malaysia for this year’s event.
Mickelson, who is no stranger to Asia having competed at the Singapore Open annually since 2007, along with multiple appearances and two titles at the HSBC Champions in Shanghai, will make his debut at the CIMB Classic as well as on Malaysian soil.
"I've heard great things about Kuala Lumpur and the CIMB Classic from the guys who played there. This will be my first visit to Malaysia, I'm really excited and looking forward to the experience," Mickelson said. "The CIMB Classic presents an excellent opportunity for PGA Tour players to compete in Asia, and it's part and parcel of promoting the game globally. I think it's fantastic that the CIMB Classic is part of the FedExCup; it certainly drives the tournament's competitiveness and encourages the presence of American golfers in the region."
Players will compete for increased prize money of $7 million, as compared to $6.1 million last year. The tournament, which is also co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour, will feature 78 players, with 60 coming from the PGA Tour, 10 from the Asian Tour and eight sponsor’s exemptions, including two Malaysians.