Jakarta, April 30: Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland hopes to make a winning debut at the CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters, which starts on Thursday, and make amends for missing the Masters Tournament in April.
The Major champion, who pulled a hamstring while playing tennis with his children in the Bahamas five weeks ago, leads an elite cast of stars including Ernie Els of South Africa at the US$750,000 Asian Tour event.
“I was playing tennis with my kids and I thought I was 24 and not 44! Unfortunately I had to pull-out from Augusta and Korea last week. It has been a frustrating period. I’m not good at sitting and not doing anything. I’ve had intensive treatment on my hamstring and it is fine now,” said Clarke.
“I couldn’t do anything. I could hardly walk, hit golf balls or putt. I had to sit at home and watch (The Masters). I think Adam Scott was good after what happened at The Open last year. The way Angel Cabrera played was fantastic as well. Augusta is a very special place and I miss being there.
“I only watched the last round on television because if I watched every day, then I would have been frustrated. I was supposed to be there but I couldn’t,” said the 2011 Open Championship winner.
He hopes some advice from two-time Indonesian Masters winner Lee Westwood of England, will guide him to victory on the region’s premier Tour which is celebrating its 10th season this year.
“I’ve had some good time in Asia. I’ve missed the heat here as well! I haven’t played here before but Lee has told me bits and pieces about the golf course. The greens and fairways are sensational here. It is set up tough but fair as well. It will be a good, fair and stern test,” he said.
“I’ve been practising hard at home but it is a little bit different compared to playing in Asia. My swing is okay but I’m still a bit rusty. I haven’t played since March. It was no choice of my own but unfortunately it is the way it is,” he lamented.
Bernd Wiesberger of Austria, ranked 83rd in the world, was delighted to return to the CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters where he finished tied seventh last year and went on to win in Korea.
“I’ve worked on my game to get more consistent. I’m making a lot of cuts which shows that I’m going in the right direction. I’m trying to make a step up in every part of my game to get into contention and win tournaments,” said Wiesberger.
Former Asian Tour Order of Merit winner Simon Dyson of England, who won the 2006 Indonesia Open, is determined to continue his winning ways in the country.
“I have good memories here. My game is better now but I got off to a very slow start. My confidence was a bit low but I’ve been playing good in the last few weeks. My game is getting better and my confidence is growing,” he said.
“I didn’t play much last year. I took some time off because my wife gave birth to my first child and I had two really bad injuries. It is nice to finish 50th on the Order of Merit in your bad year. I’ve spent a lot of time at home and I’m pleased I did because I saw my child growing up,” he smiled.
John Daly of the United States withdrew from the CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters due to a family matter. He apologises to both fans and sponsors and hopes to be able to visit Indonesia in the future.
The CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters will host two golf clinics for the public on May 4 (Saturday) and May 5 (Sunday) at 12 noon. There will also be a Trick Golf Performance by Paul Barrington at 3pm on Friday at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club.
About CIMB Niaga
CIMB Niaga was established as Bank Niaga in 1955. CIMB Group holds around 97.94% of the stakes in CIMB Niaga. The Bank offers a comprehensive suite of both conventional and Islamic banking products and services, through an expanding delivery channel network of 974 offices all over Indonesia as at 31 December 2012, including 590 branches, 330 Mikro Laju units, and 54 cash/payment points. CIMB Niaga has more than 14,200 employees.
CIMB Niaga encourages people to share high growth and take advantage of all the potential that South-East Asia regions bring – in line with CIMB Group’s brand positioning: “ASEAN for You”.
CIMB Group is Malaysia’s second largest financial services provider and one of ASEAN’s leading universal banking groups. It offers consumer banking, investment banking, Islamic banking, asset management and insurance products and services. Headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, the Group is now present in 9 out of 10 ASEAN nations (Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Cambodia, Brunei, Vietnam, Myanmar and Philippines). Beyond ASEAN, the Group has market presence in China, Hong Kong, Bahrain, India, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Australia, the US, UK and Korea. CIMB Group is listed on Bursa Malaysia via CIMB Group Holdings Berhad. It has a market capitalisation of USD18.6 billion as at 31 December 2012. The Group has over 43,000 employees located in 18 countries.
About the Asian Tour
In 2013, the Asian Tour will celebrate a momentous milestone with its 10th season. As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia. This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include Abacus (Official Apparel Partner), BlackBerry (Official Communications Partner), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Supplier), Singha Beer (Official Beer), Srixon (Official Ball), Starwood Hotels and Resorts (Official Hotels and Resorts) and Rolex (Official Timekeeper). The Asian Tour has offices in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Also, visit us at www.asiantour.com, www.facebook.com/asiantourgolf, www.twitter.com/asiantourgolf, www.youtube.com/theasiantour and www.weibo.com/asiantourgolf