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Top names tee it up in Malaysia: CIMB Classic preview

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As vampires, werewolves, mummies, and other ghastly ghouls are closing in on neighborhoods across the country in hopes of sugary treats, some big name professional golfers are closing in on the MINES Resort and Golf Club in Malaysia for some rewards of their own.

After all, this is the time of year that Ernie Els dubbed “wheelbarrow time.”  Players travel the globe to chase the warm weather, beautiful venues and the wheelbarrows full of cash offered by tournament organizers. While appearance fees arguably compromise the competitive nature of some players and tournaments, there is no debating that when the best golfers in the world are playing, they’re playing to win. This week’s CIMB Classic in Malaysia will prove just that.

Although the CIMB Classic doesn’t offer a long and storied tradition, the third edition of this event will continue to play an important role in the ever-evolving golf landscape. Asian-born players are making a larger impact on the major golf tours every year. Their presence is being felt on the leader boards and in the press room. Although he’s not in this week’s field, Ryo Ishikawa’s media following is unrivaled. His fan base is immense. He carries an entire country on his shoulders every time he tees it up.  A quick look at the names on any PGA Tour or LPGA Tour leader board will reveal the Asian impact on the game. With golf coming back to the Olympics in four years, the popularity of the game will only increase in this golf-starved part of the world.

The CIMB Classic will consist of 48 players from the PGA Tour, Asia Tour and PGA of Malaysia. This no-cut event will feature some of the bigger names in the game along with the biggest — Tiger Woods.  The presence of the household name in the golfing world brings immediate cache to any event. The fact that Tiger has three wins in 2012 and seems to be on the cusp of regaining some semblance of his old form only adds to his impact on this tournament.

His hefty appearance fee will no doubt pay off for tournament organizers, as fans will turn out in great numbers to get a glimpse of golf royalty. Although Tiger’s participation would suffice for most fans, some other recognizable names from the PGA Tour should make this event that much more interesting.  The unflappable Jason Dufner will be making an appearance after recently making a successful Ryder Cup debut. Nick Watney will attempt to regain the form that proved victorious for him in the FedEx Cup playoffs opener The Barclays. 2011 FedEx champion Bill Haas will tee it up in Malaysia along with Kyle Stanley. Both players will look to capture the magic they both displayed early in the 2012 season.  Also, both champions of this young event will be in the field this week. 2010 champ Ben Crane and 2011 champ Bo Van Pelt will try and stir the echoes of victorious past trips to the MINES Resort. Van Pelt, it should be noted, is fresh off a victory last week in Australia.

If the players themselves aren’t the source of the entertainment this week in Malaysia, the course itself will be. Opened in 1994, this Robert Trent Jones, Jr. design will play to a par of 71 at 6,966 yards. To best highlight the excitement of the scoring of this layout, 10-under-par has only been good enough for 18th and 20th in 2010 and 2011, respectively. Birdies and eagles will be plentiful at the MINES Resort.

In 2010, last week’s ISPS Handa Perth International winner Bo Van Pelt won the CIMB Classic with a score of 23-under. And he wasn’t the only player that went really low: three of the four par 5s had a scoring average less than 4, meaning the holes averaged better than birdie. While faring marginally tougher in 2011, the holes still provided ample scoring opportunities. All three par 5s this week will be easily reachable by the entire field with a well-placed tee shot.  While some traditionalists will lament the opportunities to attack old-man par, the excitement provided by these scores is just what the tournament organizers, sponsors, players, and, most importantly the fans yearn to see.

While most people are filling up their wheelbarrows with fall leaves in preparation for the coming winter, those lucky few individuals who golf for a living will be filling theirs up with cash. Obviously, some players will need larger vessels to haul their take than others. But with so much golfing potential the Southeast Asia region has to offer, golf fans worldwide can look forward to their golf wheelbarrows being filled with not tricks, only treats for many years to come.

Click here for more discussion in the “Tour Talk” forum.

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Joe Romaine is a high school math teacher and golf coach in sunny Arizona. His days are spent thinking about golf, watching golf, and relating golf to his students' math curriculum.

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Bobbie

    Oct 26, 2012 at 10:56 pm

    What is the time difference in Malaysia and USA?

  2. Bobbie

    Oct 26, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    What does CIMB stand for?

  3. Pingback: Top names tee it up in Malaysia: CIMB Classic preview – GolfWRX.com | golf2usa.com

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Tour News

5 things we learned on Sunday of the 2018 U.S. Open

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Opportunity knocked for so many golfers, yet it was the 2017 champion who seized the moment when it was his. Brooks Koepka fired his second sub-par round of the week on Sunday to separate from playing partner Dustin Johnson, and enter the pantheon of multiple major champions. He became the 7th player to defend his title, joining old-school legends like Willie Anderson and John McDermott, mid-century icons like Ralph Guldahl and Ben Hogan, and the last man to accomplish the feat, Curtis Strange. With that introduction, let’s move to the main event, the 5 things we learned on Sunday at Shinnecock Hills.

5) The USGA gave golf a chance

True to its word, the USGA pulled out all the stops in the wee hours of Sunday morn. The course set-up team ensured that enough water was distributed to putting surfaces, that worthy shots would not be punished. Hole locations were assessed and confirmed, also ensuring that multiple opportunities for success were available. As a result, 15 golfers turned in scores under par of 70, highlighted by Tommy Fleetwood’s 7-under stunner. Although many fans, writers and players were quick to assault the organizers for losing control of the course, the USGA reminded us that it always had control of the conditions at Shinny, and that its only mistake was to soar too close to the sun.

4) Captain America ran out of gas

If Patrick Reed had been able to sign his card on the 9th tee, when he stood 5-under on the day and 1-over for the tournament, he would be in a playoff with the eventual champion as I type. Unfortunate for this year’s Masters champion was that 10 holes remained. Reed promptly bogeyed the 9th, added 3 more bogeys on the inward half, and summoned just one birdie toward the end. His fourth-place finish was his best in a U.S. Open, but knowing that victory was in the cards will sting for a while.

3) DJ and Finau gave it a run

Where to begin? How about this: DJ had four bogeys on Sunday. He totaled that many on Thursday-Friday combined. He had birdies, too, but couldn’t find the game that possessed him over the opening 36 holes. Oddly enough, this type of experience won’t be a setback for the 2016 champion. After all, he came back from a career-killer in 2015, when he 3-whacked his way out of a playoff with Jordan Spieth at Chambers Bay. As for Milton Pouhau Finau, aka Tony, the Utah native had never before been in the final group on any day of a major professional championship. He acquitted himself well, standing even on the day and 3-over for T2 at the 18th tee. Knowing that he needed eagle for a playoff might have taken the final winds from his sails, and he limped home with double bogey and solo third. Looking ahead to the final August playing of the PGA Championship, Bellerive near St. Louis might just be his type of course.

2) Tom Terrific nearly made his own U.S. Open history

I’ll write this cautiously, as I’m certain I would have intimated in the 1980s and 90s that Colin Montgomerie and Lee Westwood would have been major champions by now. Tommy Fleetwood ought to win one of these things soon. His record-tying 63 was a short putt away from a record-breaking 62. Eight birdies against a single bogey was the stuff of legend, and if only he had trusted that final putt a bit higher on the break … that’s not fair. Fleetwood right now is the fellow to watch at Carnoustie next month. Bet a few quid or bob or whatever on the Southport native, as he should contend for the title.

1) Brooks cooks up a winning broth

It’s easy to look back and see all the great shots that the defending champion hit over the four days of the 2018 U.S. Open, shots that would win him his second consecutive trophy. Remember that 60-feet bomb to save par on Saturday? Shades of Costantino Rocca. How about the approach shots to within mere feet that earned him 5 birdies on Sunday, including a competition-killer on 16? Koepka was the guy we thought Dustin Johnson would be. Perhaps it was the time off for wrist rehabilitation early this season that gave him the burning desire to win. Out for nearly 4 months, Koepka had plenty of time to ponder what he achieved last June in Wisconsin, and what might lay ahead for him. The begged question is, does the most recent, two-time major winner have the game to acquire more of the game’s cherished trophies?

Related: Brooks Koepka’s Winning WITB from the 2018 U.S. Open

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Wednesday’s Photos from the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills

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GolfWRX is live from the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club (par 70; 7,440 yards) in Southhampton, New York. The U.S. Open returns to Shinnecock for the first time since 2004 when Retief Goosen won (he failed to qualify for the 2018 event).

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Phil Mickelson, who has two top-5 finishes at Shinnecock Hills, will seek to fill out his career Grand Slam with a win this week. Also, it’s Tiger Woods’ 10-year anniversary of winning the legendary 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines — that was his most recent major championship victory.

Also in the field are headliners Dustin Johnson (now ranked No. 1 in the Official World Golf Rankings), Justin Thomas (No. 2), Justin Rose (No. 3), Jon Rahm (No. 4) and Jordan Spieth (No. 5).

Brooks Koepka (No. 9) is the defending champion; he won last year by four shots for his first and only major so far in his career.

Check out our photos from Shinnecock Hills below!

Wednesday’s Galleries

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Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums

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Spotted at Shinnecock: #RVLife, superb staff bags, stellar stampings

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We’re on the famed grounds of Shinnecock Hills Golf Club for the second major of the year. With the U.S. Open returned to such a visually and historically rich venue, it may be a bit tough to focus on equipment.

Nevertheless, we spotted some cool stuff, Tuesday, as the players move ever closer to the second major of th eyear.

Let’s get to the photos.

#RVLife propronent, Jason Day’s putter cover is incredible.

Michael Greller displays an essential caddie skill…

Face of Tiger’s wedge. Do these look like standard TaylorMade MG grooves to you?

Greatest side panel on a bag ever?

Who isn’t happy to see “Woods” on USGA tournament signage?

Shintaro Ban’s unique dot stamping is, well, money.

A look at the Bridgestone U.S. Open staff bag and headcovers.

Kenny Perry: Still gaming R7 irons.

Scott Gregory with some solid wedge stamping.

What is this lead taped and war torn beauty?

All our photos from Tuesday

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums

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