Maybank Malaysian Open returns to Saujana for 2009

The 48th edition of the prestigious Maybank Malaysian Open returns to the world-renowned Saujana Golf and Country Club in Kuala Lumpur from February 12-15 in 2009.  This highly respected tournament has seen the likes of Vijay Singh, Padraig Harrington, Retief Goosen, Michael Campbell, Lee Westwood and Nick Faldo just to name a few, contend for top honours. This year is no exception with a US$2million prize purse on offer by title sponsor Maybank.
“Maybank is pleased to be title sponsor again of the Malaysian Open which continues to draw top golfers from both Tours,” said Tan Sri Mohamed Basir bin Ahmad, Chairman Maybank in announcing Maybank’s sponsorship for the third consecutive year. “We are also happy with the return of the Malaysian Open to the Saujana Course which has earned an international reputation as a tough challenging course. We once again look forward to a world-class line-up of players to pit their skills on Malaysian green.”
The Executive Committee of the Malaysian Golf Association welcomed the announcement of the event after its meeting and believes the Maybank Malaysian Open is the jewel in the crown of Malaysian golf and that the best players will turn out once again to compete and aim for the top prize. Golf in Malaysia continues to grow and the Malaysian Golf Association is sure fans will turn out in force to see their favourite international and local players battle it out over the four days.
Making history as the first ever co-sanctioned tournament in Asia by The European and Asian Tours in 1999, the Maybank Malaysian Open 2009 will feature top players from the rankings to make up the 156 player line up. Vital points will also be on offer for The Race to Dubai which tees off this season. This replaces the previous European Tour Order of Merit and gives the top-60 ranked players a chance to compete for the US$10,000,000 prize fund at the Dubai World Championship which wraps up the season next November. The increased scope and power of The European Tour will guarantee a strong field at the course known as ‘The Cobra’.
George O’Grady, Chief Executive of The European Tour, explains, “The European Tour is going through significant changes this season with the inaugural Race to Dubai and we hope that the Maybank Malaysian Open benefits from this exciting new competition. Malaysia is one of The European Tour’s most exciting destinations that our Members have enjoyed since first coming here in 1999.”
Kyi Hla Han, Executive Chairman of the Asian Tour echoed The European Tour’s sentiments, “The co-sanctioned Maybank Malaysian Open will return in February next year and will continue to be seen as one of the key tournaments on Tour. Saujana will provide a great challenge for our players and we are very pleased to see Maybank returning as title sponsor of Malaysia’s marquee golfing event.”
Saujana Golf and Country Club, situated just outside Kuala Lumpur has hosted the Malaysian Open seven times, the last one in 2007 and has established itself as Malaysia’s number one golf club. The 2009 competition will be played on the Palm Course, which was designed by Ronald Fream and was named ‘The Best Championship Course in Asia’ in 2005. Players who have graced the established Saujana Golf and Country Club include the likes of Vijay Singh (2001 Champion), Padraig Harrington, Lee Westwood, John Daly, Severiano Ballesteros, Michael Campbell, Colin Montgomerie, Paul McGinley and 2004 & 2005 Champion Thongchai Jaidee.
“Saujana has had the pleasure of hosting the Malaysian Open on several occasions and we are very happy to welcome the event back again for 2009”, said Dato’ Abu Bakar Mohd Nor, Managing Director of Saujana Consolidated Berhad.
He continued, “The course has proved challenging for world-class players over the years and we will work hard to provide the best course and facilities possible to make this a truly memorable occasion.”
Players competing in past events at Saujana had initially perceived the Palm Course as relatively easy where low scores were frequently recorded. In 2007, the rough was heightened to four inches, which gave the reversal of fortunes and frustrated many. For next year’s Maybank Malaysian Open, Saujana will provide a compromise to provide entertaining and challenging play with a rough in the region of two to two-and-a-half inches long. 
The new-look Tour calendar slots the Maybank Malaysian Open into February between the Indian Masters and the Johnnie Walker Classic which will be staged in Perth, Western Australia. One unique feature of the tournament is also the tax exemption on the US$2 million prize money which makes the Maybank Malaysian Open all the more lucrative for players to compete in. The schedule and location of these events makes Malaysia a perfect stop-off between India and Australia which is another incentive for players.
Fans can be sure a star-studded cast will feature at the Palm Course at Saujana Golf and Country Club come February 2009 and player names are expected to be announced in the near future.
“The 2009 Maybank Malaysian Open will take place at Saujana Golf and Country Club for what we expect to be the biggest and best event yet. The support of our sponsors and partners for this event will ensure it maintains its position as one of the premier events on Tour,” commented John Eu, Chief Executive Officer of GlobalOne.
The 2008 Maybank Malaysian Open was won by Arjun Atwal from India who also took the trophy in 2003. Other top players including Darren Clarke, David Howell, Michael Campbell, Søren Kjeldsen, Nick Dougherty, Peter Hedblom and local favourite Danny Chia lined up at Kota Permai Golf and Country Club earlier this year year and we can expect more of the likes to return to challenge for the title.”