US Open winner Rory McIlroy and Open Champion Darren Clarke have agreed to play in the Thailand Golf Championship, which will be held at the Amata Spring Country Club from December 15 to 18, 2011.
The news was confirmed by the Asian Tour organizers during a press conference held in Bangkok on Tuesday. Moreover, Clarke said in a press release that he was eager to take part in the tournament, which was carrying a purse of $1-million.
“I have competed regularly in Asia since the 1990s and I have always enjoyed my time over there playing on top golf courses and against top players from the Asian Tour,” said Clarke.
The 42-year-old veteran won the BMW Open in Shanghai in 2008, which served as his debut victory on tour. Clarke was confident about his form going into the event and was also expecting a pleasant weather on the course during the event. However, the way he battled the icy winds of Scotland in the Open Championship earlier this month, one might argue the weather won’t have too much of a say in his game.
The Irishman will be joined by his compatriot McIlroy, who won his debut major at the US Open in June 2011. The 22-year-old is known to visit Thailand regularly and is hopeful that he will end the season “on a winning note.”
World number two Lee Westwood is also eager to play on the courses that shot him straight to the top of rankings. The Englishman won two back-to-back titles in the region and rendered the courses of Indonesia as “fantastic.”
“Thailand and Asia are emerging markets in golf. A lot of interesting golfing out there. It is good to have such a big event in this continent. I think that will help increase profile of golf over there,” said McIlroy.
Thailand Golf Championship will serve as a great platform to promote the sport in the region. Its winner will earn a spot in the 2012 WGC Bridgestone Invitational, which is the last of the four-legged series that is held with joint collaboration of European and PGA Tour.