CIMB Classic preview

The PGA Tour is in Asia this week for the CIMB Classic. Nick Watney defends the title against a strong field at the Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club in Malaysia.

Nick Watney defends CIMB Classic (Getty Images)

Lowdown: The PGA Tour is in Asia this week for the CIMB Classic. Nick Watney defends the title against a strong field at the Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club in Malaysia.

This tournament will be the first PGA Tour event contested in Asia to carry points for the FedEx Cup. And, given the sizeable prize-fund, reduced field and no cut-line, an impressive line-up of players has assembled.

Nick Watney won the tournament last year at The MINES Resort & Golf Club. He shot an astonishing 61 in the final round to overhaul Robert Garrigus and Bo Van Pelt.

Watney will be joined in the field this week by the likes of Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia and Ernie Els. The field is just 78 players and 10 of them will come from the Asian Tour. They'll all be competing for a prize fund of $7 million, up $900,000 from last year.

The course at Kuala Lumpur G&CC was originally designed by Nelson Howarth and opened for play in 1991. But, the track was totally reconstructed for the 2010 Malaysian Open, although the routing and layout remained the same. The course has been used for the Malaysian Open on the European Tour in each of the last four year.

Venue: Kuala Lumpur G&CC, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Date: Oct 24-27 Course stats: par 72, 6,951 yards Purse: $7,000,000 Winner: $1,300,000 Defending Champion: Nick Watney (-22)

Player Watch: Ryan Moore - Tied ninth in Las Vegas, Moore looks to be coming into form. Watch for him to press on this week.

Brendon de Jonge - Missed the cut in Vegas but was playing solidly coming into that event. He finished no worse than tied 19th in any of the FedEx Cup playoff events. He was also tied fourth in this tournament last year.

Charley Hoffman - Always a steady performer, Hoffman was fourth in the Shriners with a closing 64. He played well through the 2013 season and is looking to build on that.

Key hole: 14th. It may be only 358 yards long but, with a heavily bunkered fairway, and a tricky approach over a lake, it's a hole that requires a careful and strategic approach.

Skills required: Staying dry. There's quite a bit of water to contend with, particularly on the back nine. If the trouble is successfully avoided then low scoring will be possible. Where next? European Tour - BMW Masters preview

Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

Fergus is Golf Monthly's resident expert on the history of the game and has written extensively on that subject. He is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and the history section of "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin , also of Golf Monthly. 

Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?