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Retief Goosen commits to play Johnnie Walker Classic

Two-time US Open Champion, 2002 Johnnie Walker Classic winner and world number four, Retief Goosen is the latest player to commit to the star-studded field competing in the 15th Johnnie Walker Classic at The Vines Resort and Country Club in Perth from February 9-12, 2006 .

Two of world golf's rising stars, Paul Casey and Ian Poulter, will also be in Western Australia chasing the £1.25 million prize money, together with the Ryder Cup captain, and past Johnnie Walker Classic winner, Ian Woosnam.

They join three other former winners of the Johnnie Walker Classic who have already confirmed to play at The Vines Resort; defending champion and world number eight Adam Scott, reigning US Open champion Michael Campbell and six-time major winner Nick Faldo.

The 2005 European Tour Order of Merit winner Colin Montgomerie and world number 23 Thomas Bjorn will also be competing in the tournament that is sanctioned by the Asian, Australasian and European Tours.

Commenting on the announcement, Ben Anderson, Global Brand Director for the world's leading Scotch whisky brand said, "Having five former winners already confirmed to play at the Johnnie Walker Classic in Perth is fantastic news, and it reflects the world-class status of our tournament. These players aren't happy to just win this event once. In the true spirit of the Johnnie Walker brand, we encourage these stars to Keep Walking and wish them the best of luck chasing a second or even third Johnnie Walker Classic title."

oosen is one of the world's most travelled golfers. He has won 25 tournaments worldwide, including the 2002 Johnnie Walker Classic, which he won by a remarkable margin of eight strokes when the tournament was first staged in Perth , at Lake Karrinyup . This year, he has won the International in the USA , the Volkswagen Masters-China in Beijing and the Linde German Masters in Cologne , to finish fourth on the European Order of Merit and eighth on the US Tour Money List.

The genial 36-year-old clinched his second US Open trophy last year at Shinnecock Hills after fighting off a challenge from Phil Mickelson. Goosen won his first US Open title in 2001 at Southern Hills after an 18-hole playoff. He has produced tremendous consistency in the majors in recent times finishing in the top ten at five of the past six.

"I'm really looking forward to coming back to Perth for next February's Johnnie Walker Classic," said Goosen of his confirmation to play. " Perth has always seemed to be good to me, I enjoy the city and look forward to getting back to The Vines, I only hope it will be as kind to me as Lake Karrinyup in 2002!"

The colourful Poulter, ranked 58th in the world, is a six-time winner in Europe . The 29-year-old Englishman made his Ryder Cup debut for Europe last year winning his singles on the final day as his team stormed to victory. He followed up by winning the Volvo Masters Andalucia at Valderrama beating Sergio Garcia in a sudden death playoff.

Poulter has shown a real liking for match play action, in recent times making the semi-finals of the WGC-Accenture Match Play this year, and the quarter-finals in 2004. He won at least one title in Europe each year between 2000 and 2004.

Casey is another promising young Englishman who will play at The Vines. Formerly one of the world's best amateurs, the 28-year-old Casey has won four times since joining the European Tour in 2000. He has tasted success in Australia as well after clinching the 2003 ANZ Championship at New South Wales Golf Club. His most recent win came in China at the 2005 TCL Classic. Last year, Casey made his first visit to Augusta and posted a top-six finish in a fine debut. He also teamed with Luke Donald to win the WGC-World Cup for England in 2004.

Woosnam, winner of the 1996 Johnnie Walker Classic when he beat Andrew Coltart in a sudden death play-off at the Tanah Merah Golf Club in Singapore, has been a tremendous asset to golf with his aggressive style of play and has had an illustrious career. The Welshman won the US Masters at Augusta in 1991 and has collected 44 professional titles worldwide. The 47-year-old will captain Europe 's Ryder Cup team for 2006 when the Europeans will defend the Cup against the USA in Ireland . He was Vice-Captain under Sam Torrance in 2002 when Europe re-claimed the trophy at The Belfry.

The Johnnie Walker Classic will provide the biggest prize in Australian golf, with a total purse of £1.25 million (over A$3 million) and a winner's cheque of £208,333 (over A$500,000).

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. It 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 .

November 15, 2005

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