Championship to welcome major winners to this year’s tournament
American Ryder Cup stars Dustin Johnson and Zach Johnson, plus 2010 Open Champion Louis Oosthuizen, will headline the field for this year’s Ballantine’s Championship. The trio of major winners will join home favourites YE Yang and KT Kim for the Championship’s sixth edition, which takes place from April 25-28 2013, at the prestigious Blackstone Golf Club in South Korea.
This latest World-class field underlines the growing reputation of the Ballantine’s Championship, as players look to join a legendary family of previous winners which includes Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell (2008), Englishman Lee Westwood (2011), as well as defending champion Bernd Wiesberger (2012).
Christian Porta, CEO of Chivas Brothers, said: “We are delighted that the Ballantine’s Championship continues to attract such a wealth of both talent and interest from all over the world, again reinforcing the increasing importance of Korea as a world-class golf destination. We look forward to another exciting edition of this prestigious golf tournament.”
World Number Five Oosthuizen will make his debut in the Ballantine’s Championship, having captured his sixth European Tour title at last month’s Volvo Golf Champions in his native South Africa.
“I’m really looking forward to visiting Korea and to playing in the Ballantine’s Championship for the first time,” said Oozthuizen. “I got my first win in Asia last year and it would be nice to challenge for another in April. I’ve heard good things about the tournament and I look forward to discovering more about it.”
American Zach Johnson, himself a former winner of The Masters in 2007, is also making his debut at the championship and it will be the first time the three-time Ryder Cup player has played in a European Tour event outside of the Major Championships and World Golf Championships events.
“It’s a great opportunity to be able to play in the Ballantine’s Championship and I’m really looking forward to it,” he said. “To be able to play in a new country and test myself against some of Europe and Asia’s leading players is very exciting.”
Meanwhile countryman Dustin Johnson, one of the biggest hitters in world golf, returns to Blackstone Golf Club having finished fourth on his debut in 2011. The 28 year old was forced to miss last year’s Ballantine’s Championship but goes to Blackstone in good form already in 2013.
“I was disappointed to have to miss last year’s Ballantine’s Championship because of my back injury,” said Johnson, who recently won his seventh US PGA Tour Title in the season opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions. “I really enjoyed my first visit a couple of years ago and I’m looking forward to returning.”
Leading the home hopes will be Yang and Kim, with both players striving to become the first Korean to win the Ballantine’s Championship. Whilst Kim is the former Korean Amateur Champion and won the 2007 Maekyung Open, Yang became the first Asian player to win a Major when he held off Tiger Woods to win the 2009 US PGA Championship.
“The Ballantine’s Championship is always an important event for the Korean players and it is one I always look forward to,” Yang said. “Ballantine’s always puts on a great Championship and really looks after us, so I hope that I can do well in return.”
The Ballantine’s Championship was established in 2008 and builds on Ballantine’s long-standing association with golf. In addition to the Championship, Ballantine’s sponsors several top-flight events, as well as investing in grass-roots activity such as the Golf Fund in China and the Road to the Ballantine’s Championship in Korea.