Kuala Lumpur: Major champions Martin Kaymer and Louis Oosthuizen were on Wednesday revealed as the first international golfing professionals to confirm their participation at the $3 million Maybank Championship Malaysia 2016 to be held at the Royal Selangor Golf Club (RSGC) here from February 18-21.
South African Oosthuizen, a past Champion of the Maybank Malaysian Open 2012 and a well-known favourite here, is ranked No.13 in the and No.4 on the European Tour Order of Merit.
In 2010, Oosthuizen won his first European Tour event, the Open de Andalucia de Golf and won his first major championship, the 139th British Open Championship at St Andrews. He won for the fourth time on the European Tour when he successfully defended his Africa Open title in 2012, also adding the Maybank Malaysian Open to his list of victories that year.
The 33-year-old Oosthuizen continued his winning streak after that by winning the Volvo Golf Championship in 2013 and 2014 respectively.
Two-time Major champion Kaymer of Germany currently ranks No.26 in the and No.20 on the Race to Dubai.
He played at the Maybank Malaysian Open in 2011 as World No.1 and holder of the US PGA Championship 2010, which was also his first Major. Since then, he has won the US Open 2014 his second Major and the Players Championship 2014, which is the PGA Tour Flagship Event.
Other wins include the HSBC World Golf Championship in 2010; and his place in Europe’s winning team at the Ryder Cup in 2012 and 2014. He last played in Malaysia at the Malaysia Open in 2012.
“To have two Major Champions in Martin Kaymer and Louis Oosthuizen committed to the Maybank Championship Malaysia is a real statement of intent, and I’m sure there will be more high profile players keen to follow their lead,” European Tour’s chief pperating officer Keith Waters said in a release.
“With the likes of (defending champion) Anirban Lahiri and Kiradech Aphibarnrat making great strides, golf in Asia is currently in very good health and I am sure this new tournament will continue to grow the game across the region.”
The inaugural Maybank Championship Malaysia is co sanctioned by The European Tour, The Asian Tour, The Professional Golf of Malaysia Tour (PGM Tour), and The Professional Golfers Association of Malaysia (PGAM).
The Maybank Championship Malaysia has also achieved another significant milestone as this marks the first time that all professional golfing bodies in Malaysia have collaborated in this manner for the common good of the game as well as its professional players, the eager fans and young talent that are waiting to be shown the way forward towards competing internationally and at the Rio Olympics in 2016.
The championship will in 2016 be one of only six events at which the European Tour members will participate in the Asian Region.
The event will provide a significant platform for Asian golfers to gain valuable Official World Ranking points and stake a claim for a place at the 2016 Olympics. It is also one of only four tournaments that is co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour in 2016.