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Garcia & Faldo to play in Johnnie Walker

World number five Sergio Garcia of Spain and six-time Major winner Nick Faldo of England have signed up to play in next year’s Johnnie Walker Classic at Lake Karrinyup Country Club in Perth, Australia.

The duo will join defending champion Retief Goosen and Ernie Els, the newly crowned World Matchplay winner, in one of the strongest fields ever assembled in Australia to contest the event from February 13-16. The Johnnie Walker Classic is tri-sanctioned by the European Tour, PGA Tour of Australasia and Asian PGA-run Davidoff Tour.

The young and multi-talented Garcia will be making his third appearance in the Johnnie Walker Classic having played for the first time in 2000 in Bangkok and earlier this year when he finished in third place behind the winner Retief Goosen. Garcia will be seeking to avenge his 2&1 defeat at the hands of British Open champion Els, following Sunday’s World Matchplay Championship at Wentworth Golf Club, England.

Faldo is one of the highest profile golfers of the last decade and is another former winner returning to the Johnnie Walker Classic.

Stephen Morley, Johnnie Walker Global Brand Director, said: “We are delighted that Sergio Garcia and Nick Faldo have agreed to compete in next year’s Johnnie Walker Classic. In their own ways, both represent the “Keep Walking” spirit that lies at the heart of the Johnnie Walker brand – Sergio with his youth, vitality and burning desire to pursue his goals is one of the hottest golfers on the planet right now; Nick with his unerring commitment to excellence and his battle to regain his place at the very highest levels of the sport is a real inspiration to others. Quite simply, there are no golfers who better exemplify the values of our brand.”

Garcia turned professional in 1999 and went on to win the Murphy’s Irish Open, the Linde German Masters and was part of the Spanish team that won the Alfred Dunhill Cup. As well as the three victories in 1999, Garcia played some remarkable golf as he attempted to become the youngest winner of a Major Championship for 129 years by finishing runner-up to Tiger Woods in the US PGA Championship. In the 1999 Ryder Cup matches, Garcia collected three and a half points out of five in a brilliant debut at Brookline in Massachusetts.

The 22-year old made his breakthrough on the US PGA Tour in 2001 when he won his first tournament, the MasterCard Colonial, and followed that with a second victory in the Buick Classic a month later - performances which convinced Sam Torrance to pick him as one of his wild cards for The 2001 Ryder Cup Matches at The Belfry, which was postponed to this year.

This year, Garcia claimed the season-opening Mercedes Championship on the US PGA Tour in January and has shown remarkable consistency in this year’s
majors: eighth in the US Masters; fourth in the US Open; tied eighth in the Open Championship and equal 10th in the US PGA Championship.

As a member of the victorious European Ryder Cup team Garcia forged a successful partnership with Lee Westwood winning three out of their four matches. In a professional career that has spanned just over three years, Garcia has won four times in Europe, three times in the United States and more recently the Kolon Cup Korean Open on the Davidoff Tour.

Faldo won the first Johnnie Walker Classic at The Hong Kong Golf Club in 1990 by smashing the course record with a third round 62 and then went on to further his status as the then world number one by winning his second Johnnie Walker Classic at the Singapore Island Country Club in 1993.

Faldo has collected 42 titles worldwide including six majors - three British Open and three US Masters making him the most successful English golfer in history. Perhaps his most memorable triumph came at Augusta in the 1996 Masters Tournament when he entered the final round trailing Greg Norman by six strokes, he shot a 67 to Norman's 78, and won by five strokes.

The 2003 Johnnie Walker Classic will have a starting field of 156 players: 60 from the Australasian Tour; 60 from the European Tour; 28 from the Davidoff Tour and eight specially invited players.

Prize money will be a minimum of A$2.8 million with the event receiving five hours live TV coverage on all four days. In Australia, Foxtel will be screening the event on Thursday and Friday and Channel 7 on Saturday and Sunday. Live or delayed coverage of the Johnnie Walker Classic will also be seen in over 60 countries world wide including Canada, USA, UK, Japan, South Africa, Germany, Sweden, Spain, Thailand, Taiwan and Korea.

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