Golf: Clarke, Yang boost Singapore Open

Ulsterman Darren Clarke, who won the 2011 British Open, posing with the Claret Jug in October. The 47-year-old says he is relishing the prospect of pitting his skills against Jordan Spieth at the Singapore Open next month.
Ulsterman Darren Clarke, who won the 2011 British Open, posing with the Claret Jug in October. The 47-year-old says he is relishing the prospect of pitting his skills against Jordan Spieth at the Singapore Open next month.PHOTO: REUTERS

Pair of Major champions bring extra competitive edge to event that boasts world No. 1 Spieth

The SMBC Singapore Open received a boost yesterday when two former Major champions confirmed their participation for the Jan 28-31 tournament.

Northern Irishman Darren Clarke, winner of the 2011 British Open, and South Korean Yang Yong Eun - who famously beat Tiger Woods to win the 2009 PGA Championship - will add star power to the field, which is already headlined by world No. 1 Jordan Spieth.

The Singapore Open is making its comeback after a three-year hiatus, and will be held at Sentosa Golf Club's Serapong Course.

Clarke, who has 22 wins in a 25-year career, said: "I am excited about returning to the Singapore Open which has a wonderful history with great champions."

The 47-year-old will captain Europe at next month's EurAsia Cup in Kuala Lumpur against Asia, as well as next September's Ryder Cup against the US, where he will be looking for his sixth win.

Clarke said he is looking forward to the opportunity to test himself against two-time Major winner Spieth.

"Jordan Spieth set the bar with his performances this year and it will be good to take him on at the SMBC Singapore Open," said Clarke, whose success at the Royal St George's Golf Club in Kent, England remains his last victory.

"I have played the Singapore Open a number of times and the Serapong Course is a great test of golf, you really need to be on your game around there."

Yang, who played in the tournament's last edition in 2012, said: "I finished joint-10th in 2012 with three rounds in the 60s and I hope to improve on that in January."

The 43-year-old is the first Asian man to win a Major with his 2009 triumph. He has 11 wins from a 19-year career, and his last victory came at the 2010 Kolon Korea Open.

A self-taught golfer, Yang's landmark 2009 win was all the more impressive as he had trailed leader Woods by two strokes entering the final round.

But he overcame the deficit and eventually finished three strokes ahead of Woods, who finished as runner-up.

The Korean, who also beat Woods in the 2006 HSBC Champions event said: "Sentosa Golf Club is a fantastic venue and I am expecting big crowds for the tournament."

The US$1 million (S$1.4 million) event will comprise the top 60 players from each of the Asian and Japanese tours, as well as leading Singapore professionals, amateurs and sponsor invitees.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 17, 2015, with the headline 'CLARKE, YANG BOOST S'PORE OPEN'. Print Edition | Subscribe