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Top Trio confirmed for Johnnie Walker Classic
Johnnie Walker Classic - 2004
Johnnie Walker Classic - 2003

More top names commit to Johnnie Walker

Two-time US Open champion Retief Goosen, ranked fifth in the world, has confirmed his entry for the Johnnie Walker Classic alongside three of golf's young guns, world number nine Adam Scott of Australia, Englishman Luke Donald and his Ryder Cup teammate Paul Casey.

Presented by Johnnie Walker, the world's leading Scotch whisky, the £1.25 million (US$2.35 million) Johnnie Walker Classic is the Asia Pacific's premier golf event and will be staged in mainland China for the first time in the event's 14-year history at the prestigious Pine Valley Golf Resort and Country Club in Beijing from April 21-24.

The quartet join a field that now features four of the world's top nine players and is already shaping up to be the strongest ever played in China. It includes Ernie Els, the world number three; Spain's Sergio Garcia, currently ranked sixth; Miguel Angel Jimenez, the defending champion; six time major winner, with two victories in the Johnnie Walker Classic, Nick Faldo; and Korean Choi Kyung-ju, ranked 29th in the world.

Trailblazer Zhang Lian-wei, a multiple winner on the Asian Tour, will lead the local challenge.

Global Brand Director for Johnnie Walker, Ben Anderson said: "We warmly welcome back our 2002 champion, Retief Goosen and we are thrilled to welcome the three "young guns" to our tournament. I'm confident that the 2005 Johnnie Walker Classic will fuel the already dynamic and fast growing appeal of golf in Asia, especially in China."

South Africa's Goosen has achieved 24 tournament victories worldwide including the 2001 US Open Championship at Southern Hills and the 2004 US Open at Shinnecock Hills. He topped the European Tour Order of Merit in 2002 and 2003, but in 2004, he decided to play more in the US and won the Chrysler Championship on his way to finishing sixth on the US PGA Money List with prize money of close to US$4 million. Goosen will be playing in his sixth Johnnie Walker Classic, having won the event in Perth, Western Australia in 2002.

Scott, 24, has enjoyed a meteoric rise after turning pro in 2000 where he ended his first year as a rookie in 13th spot on the European Money List. Playing more regularly these days on the USPGA Tour, Scott has won four events, including the 2004 Players Championship, heralded by many as the fifth 'major' and recently won the Nissan Open in Los Angeles.

Donald will be making his debut in the Johnnie Walker Classic. The 27-year-old turned pro just four years ago, after an outstanding amateur career in which he represented Great Britain and Ireland in two Walker Cup matches and enjoyed multiple wins in the US. In the short time he has been a pro, he has won three times, once in the US and the Scandinavian Masters and Omega European Masters in Europe.

Donald, ranked 18th in the world, played a key role in Europe's victory in the 2004 Ryder Cup and went on to lift the WGC-World Cup in Spain with Casey later in the year.

England’s Casey is also 27, turning pro in 2000. A member of the victorious 1999 Walker Team, he became one of only three players in 77 years to record four victories without a defeat. In his very first year as a pro, he won the Gleneagles Scottish PGA Championship. Since then, he has won two further European Tour events and last year registered eight top-10 finishes. Casey is currently ranked 43 in the world and will be playing in his second Johnnie Walker Classic.

The Johnnie Walker Classic is jointly owned and proudly presented by Johnnie Walker and IMG and is jointly sanctioned by the European, Asian and Australasian Tours and by the China Golf Association.

All four days action from Pine Valley will be broadcast live on CCTV5 in China, and in major markets around the world including the USA, UK and Europe, Japan, Australia and South Africa. More information is available on www.johnniewalkerclassic.com

 

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