Next year’s CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters golf tournament is believed to be more challenging for Asians as well as world golfers with the organizers looking to revamp the course layout at the The Royale Jakarta Golf Club.
A club official said they were making modifications to the 27-hole golf course in East Jakarta for the four-day event beginning May 2.
“In the third Indonesian Masters, we are making some par-five holes longer,” said the golf course’s chief operating officer George Chandra in a press conference in Jakarta on Wednesday.
“We are extending some greens too, so there will be more variations as to where the pin can be placed, and the game will be more fun.”
George also said the rough in some par-three holes would be smoothened. “So, when a player’s stroke is not hard enough, the ball will slide down to the water,” he said.
It will be CIMB Niaga’s second time as title sponsor for the event, which has a minimum total prize of US$750,000 on offer — the same amount that was up for grabs in April this year. CIMB Niaga is controlled by Malaysia-based CIMB Group.
While Lee Westwood of England is yet to confirm his return to the tournament, Els of South Africa and John Daly of the US, who now sit at No. 20 and 193 in world rankings, will be on the list of participants, according to the organizers.
“Ernie Els and John Daly are not only legends in golf but they are also very popular, and I am sure their presence will further enhance our country’s premier tournament,” CIMB Niaga president director
Arwin Rasyid said.
He said that the presence of the two pro golfers was expected to attract over 20,000 spectators — an increase from some 16,000 this year.
British Open title holder Els said he was looking forward to participating in the Jakarta event after finishing second at the HSBC Champions in Shenzhen, China earlier this month, while Daly said he would give the crowd a good show during the tournament.
“Indonesia and Royale Jakarta Golf Club have a great reputation for golf. So, I am looking forward to my first trip there in May next year,” said the American in a press statement.
Irfan Hamid of the Asian Tour said most of the top Asian Tour golfers were expected to participate in the tournament although they remained to be confirmed.
“A provisional list would include the usual suspects: Juvic Pagunsan, Mardan Mamat and Thongchai Jaidee,” he said of the Filipino, Singaporean and Thai golfers, respectively.
He said the list might change three weeks before the tournament because of players such as South African Jbe Kruger and Thongchai, who also played in the European Tour, in addition the Asian Tour.
Indonesian Professional Golfer Association chairman Syafei Asnap said he expected Indonesian golfers to win the tournament. George Gandranata, Ian Andrew, Rinaldi Adiyandono and Suprapto, who won silver in the men’s group event at the 2011 SEA Games, began their professional career earlier this year.
Andik Mauludin, the only Indonesian to make the cut in the 2012 CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters, is also expected to play in next year’s tournament.