Fabulous Four to Contest 2006 Johnnie Walker Classic in Perth
Joining the past champions at the Vines Resort and Country Club in Perth from February 9-12 next year will be Thomas Bjorn and Colin Montgomerie, both past runners-up of the Johnnie Walker Classic.
This quartet of stars will compete for the biggest prize in golf in Australia with a total purse estimated for 2006 of £1.25m and a winner’s cheque of £208,333.
The 2006 Johnnie Walker Classic will be the 15th edition of Asia Pacific’s most prestigious event with Perth the host city for the third occasion. The Vines, one of Australia’s premier golf venues, will stage the event for the first time after Lake Karrinyup hosted the popular tournament in 2002, won by Retief Goosen, and 2003 when Ernie Els was victorious.
Commenting on the announcement, Ben Anderson, Johnnie Walker Global Brand Director said, “This is great news for The Johnnie Walker Classic and is a true reflection of its standing as one of the most competitive, international and high profile tournaments in the world.
“We are very excited to be returning to Perth. The Johnnie Walker Classic is will be a great platform to promote the philosophy that lies at the heart of the Johnnie Walker brand: ‘Keep Walking’. This philosophy is about inspiring personal progress, and encouraging people to take the next step in the journey towards their goals. Professional golfers are examples of this message as they have overcome challenges to excel at the highest level of the sport,” he added.
Campbell provided possibly the most popular story in world golf this year with his victory in the US Open at difficult Pinehurst No. 2 in North Carolina. Campbell became only the second New Zealander after Bob Charles to win a major championship when he held off Tiger Woods to win by two strokes. Campbell, currently ranked 16 in the world, showed soon after he was hungry for more majors by tying for fifth at the Open at St Andrews and sixth at the US PGA Championship. Cambo, as he is known on Tour, was the 1999 Johnnie Walker Classic champion when it was staged in Taiwan and, this year tied for third behind Adam Scott in Beijing.
Faldo has won the Johnnie Walker Classic twice in his illustrious career and has been an outstanding supporter of the event. The holder of six major titles (three Opens and three US Masters), Faldo produced a fine performance at the Open this year finishing in a tie for 11th place at the home of golf.
Bjorn, presently ranked 20, came extremely close to winning his first major title recently at the US PGA Championship. The Dane pushed eventual winner Mickelson to the wire at Baltusrol finishing in a tie for second just a shot shy of the American. He has also tied for second at the Open twice. Bjorn won his eighth European Tour title this year at the Daily Telegraph Dunlop Masters in England and has posted seven top-10 results. Last year, he tied for second in the Johnnie Walker Classic in Thailand behind Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez.
Montgomerie, ranked 23 in the world, is a seven-time former winner of the European Tour Order of Merit and has won 28 times in Europe. He has won at least once in the world every year since 1993 with his last European Tour victory coming at the 2004 Caltex Masters in Singapore. The Scot has posted eight top ten finishes so far this season including a second-place finish in the Open behind Woods. He has also finished second twice in the US Open and once in the US PGA Championship.
The JOHNNIE WALKER CLASSIC is jointly owned by DIAGEO, the world's leading premium drinks business and IMG, the world's premier sports, lifestyle management and marketing company, is sanctioned by the European, Asian and Australasian Tours and is supported by the Western Australian Government through EventsCorp, a division of Tourism Western Australia.
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* Helen Heady, Heady PR, on +44 (0)20 8743 7797 or +44 (0)7966 491 509 on behalf of Johnnie Walker.
NOTES TO THE EDITORS:
In the game of golf, there are few brands that can match JOHNNIE WALKER'S association with the sport and the style and excellence of its flagship tournament - the JOHNNIE WALKER CLASSIC. It is a tournament that in fifteen years has gained the reputation of being one of the best in the world, continually attracting outstanding players, huge galleries and worldwide television coverage.
PROUDLY PRESENTED BY DIAGEO AND IMG
The JOHNNIE WALKER CLASSIC is jointly owned by DIAGEO plc and IMG. DIAGEO plc is the world's leading premium drinks business, and is the proud owner of the JOHNNIE WALKER brand. JOHNNIE WALKER is the world's leading deluxe Scotch whisky with annual sales of over 11.7 million nine-litre cases. IMG is the world's premier sports and lifestyle management and marketing firm with an international staff of more than 2,000 people in 70 offices in 30 countries.
JOHNNIE WALKER AND GOLF GO HAND-IN-HAND
JOHNNIE WALKER has a long association with golf. Golf and Scotch whisky are arguably two of Scotland's greatest gifts to the world, which may explain why the world's leading Scotch whisky brand, JOHNNIE WALKER, sponsors Asia Pacific's premier golf event, the JOHNNIE WALKER CLASSIC. But there is more to this brand's long-term commitment to the game of golf.
Says the JOHNNIE WALKER Global Brand Director Ben Anderson; "This world-class tournament is an opportunity for us to build relationships on many levels, with our consumers, with our trade, and with the players themselves. Most of all the tournament is a platform to promote the philosophy that lies at the heart of the JOHNNIE WALKER brand: Keep Walking."
"This philosophy is about inspiring personal progress, inspiring people to take the next step on their journey towards their goals. Professional Golfers are inspiring examples of this message as they have overcome challenges to excel at the highest level of the sport. We hope that the tournament inspires others to follow their own dreams."
JOHNNIE WALKER's association with golf dates back to the mid 19th Century with involvement in many prestigious tournaments including the Ryder Cup in the 1990s and today across all levels of the game and across all continents on earth.
ASIA PACIFIC'S PREMIER PROFESSIONAL GOLF TOURNAMENT
The JOHNNIE WALKER CLASSIC was the first and only event to be tri-sanctioned by the European, Asian and Australasian PGA Tours. Uniquely, the location for the tournament changes every year as the event moves from one exotic location to another. It has been held in Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, Australia, Philippines, Taiwan and mainland China. The tournament attracts crowds of up to 60,000 people and hosts over 300 local and international media.
The tournament also attracts one of the best fields of players assembled in the Asia Pacific region every year, drawing from the best international, world-ranked players from Europe, Asia, Australia and the USA. They compete for what has been one of the biggest prizes in Golf in Asia Pacific, with a total purse estimated for 2006 of £1.25m (over $3m AUD) and a winner's cheque of £208,333 (over $500,000 AUD).
PLAYED AND WON BY THE BIGGEST NAMES IN GOLF
The JOHNNIE WALKER CLASSIC was first staged in Hong Kong in 1990. Over the past fourteen years, this prestigious tournament has been held in six different countries and played at over nine different golf courses. The popular event has always attracted world class players and has been won by some of the best known names in international golf:
Year Country Golf Course Winner
1990 Hong Kong Royal Hong Kong Golf Club Nick Faldo
1992 Thailand Pinehurst Golf & Country Club, Bangkok Ian Palmer
1993 Singapore Singapore Island Country Club Nick Faldo
1994 Thailand Blue Canyon Country Club, Phuket Greg Norman
1995 Philippines Orchard Golf & Country Club, Manila Fred Couples
1996 Singapore Tanah Merah Country Club Ian Woosnam
1997 Australia Hope Island Golf Club, Queensland Ernie Els
1998 Thailand Blue Canyon Country Club, Phuket Tiger Woods
1999 Taiwan Ta Shee Resort, Taipei Michael Campbell
2000 Thailand Alpine Golf and Sports Club, Bangkok Tiger Woods
2002 Australia Lake Karrinyup Country Club, Perth Retief Goosen
2003 Australia Lake Karrinyup Country Club, Perth Ernie Els
2004 Thailand Alpine Golf and Sports Club, Bangkok Miguel A Jiménez
2005 China Pine Valley Golf Resort and CC, Beijing Adam Scott
WATCHED BY GOLF FANS ACROSS THE WORLD
The JOHNNIE WALKER CLASSIC is watched across the world with a global TV audience reach of over 300 million households across over 60 countries with up to 700 hours of live broadcast.
THE 2006 EVENT IS RETURNING TO AUSTRALIA
The 2006 JOHNNIE WALKER CLASSIC is returning to Perth, Western Australia and will be held at the Vines Resort and Country Club. It will be the richest and largest tournament to ever be hosted in Western Australia. It will be held from February 9-12, 2006 and is proudly supported by the Western Australian Government through EventsCorp, a division of Tourism Western Australia.