GERMAN Martin Kaymer and South African Charl Schwartzel will be among the big draws in the 51st Maybank Malaysian Open at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club on April 12-15.
In announcing the star players yesterday, Maybank chairman Tan Sri Megat Zaharuddin Megat Nor said: "This marks the seventh year that Maybank is in association with the Malaysian Open and we are still as excited as we were back then at being part of this historic and significant tournament.
"It fills me with great pride that Maybank has not only done its part to elevate our prestigious Open to its current stature as one of the main fixtures on both the European and Asian Tours, but also increasing the profile and reach of the Royal and Ancient sport in Malaysia."
Gallery favourites world number four and 2010 US PGA Championship winner Kaymer and 2011 Masters Tournament champion and ninth-ranked Schwartzel will return to Malaysia in the US$2.5 million tournament.
“We are thrilled to welcome back Kaymer to the Maybank Malaysian Open. He was definitely a gallery favourite last year and is a proven winner, and I believe that the spectators will be delighted once again to witness the German's stellar long game and nifty touches around the greens.
"The presence of another Major winner Schwartzel is also a boost for the tournament and the Johannesburg native with his technically solid golf swing is a great player to watch,” said Megat Zaharuddin.
Also present at the press conference was rights holders Malaysian Golf Association (MGA) president Admiral (R) Tan Sri Mohamed Anwar Mohamed Nor.
Anwar said the Open has played a pivotal role in expanding the reach of the game in the country.
"The growth of the Malaysian Open is also indicative of how far golf has developed in Malaysia and how this tournament has played a part in the improvement of our local players over the years.
"The Open’s ability to consistently attract world-class golfers to our shores has not only motivated our local professionals to raise the level of their game but also inspire a new breed of young champions, who are given the opportunity to observe and learn the finer aspects of competing on the international stage,” said Anwar.
Twenty-two Malaysians, with Danny Chia and Shaaban Hussin continuing their roles as Maybank brand ambassadors, will also be among the hopefuls in April.