Golf: Promoter predicts bigger crowds at S'pore Open with addition of 2009 PGA champion Y.E. Yang

South Korean golfer Yang Yong Eun had defeated Tiger Woods to win the 2009 PGA Championship, after rallying from two strokes behind entering the final round.
South Korean golfer Yang Yong Eun had defeated Tiger Woods to win the 2009 PGA Championship, after rallying from two strokes behind entering the final round.PHOTO: TAYLOR MADE

SINGAPORE - With Asia's sole male Major winner Yang Yong Eun the latest addition to the star-studded line-up, SMBC Singapore Open promoter Lagardere Sports is expecting bigger crowds at the Sentosa Golf Club next week.

Said its vice-president Golf Asia Patrick Feizal Joyce: "Weather permitting, we expect to surpass last year's attendance figure, which was just over 23,000 for all four days. Tickets sales have been going extremely well and we have enjoyed unprecedented hospitality sales."

Yang's participation for the season opener on both the Asian Tour and the Japan Golf Tour was confirmed on Wednesday (Jan 10).

The South Korean golfer, who is better known as Y.E. Yang in the United States, became Asia's first and only Major winner to date in 2009 when he rallied from two strokes behind entering the final round to pip former world No. 1 Tiger Woods to the PGA Championship.

Yang, who has also finished in the top 10 at the Masters and US Open, has 11 wins on tour.

Joyce added: "(Yang) is an excellent addition, particularly as he is coming back to form. He won the Japan Tour Qualifying School last year and of course his credentials are second to none (in Asia).

"Through his success, he has become a talisman for Asian golf."

SEA Games team gold medallist Gregory Foo, who will be playing the Singapore Open as an amateur, is hoping to watch Yang in action to pick up valuable tips.

"He's Asia's first Major winner and I have nothing but respect and admiration for him. And, if our scores are similar after the first two days, I would definitely look forward to playing with him," said Foo.

The 45-year-old Yang will join Masters champion Sergio Garcia of Spain and South African Louis Oosthuizen, winner of the 2010 Open Championship, in the US$1 million (S$1.34 million) event at the Serapong Course.

Other notable names include American Pat Perez, who currently leads the FedExCup standings, Malaysian Gavin Green and Japanese Yusaku Miyazato, the 2017 Order of Merit winners on the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour respectively. Japanese star Ryo Ishikawa will also make his Singapore Open debut.

Yang's compatriot Song Young Han, who won the 2016 Singapore Open after pipping then-world No. 1 Jordan Spieth by one stroke, will also return this year.