Golf

Spieth confirms his Singapore Open date at Sentosa’s Serapong

World No. 2 to tee off at Sentosa's Serapong as national Open 
makes return after three years

It's confirmed.

Jordan Spieth, the 2015 US PGA Tour Player of the Year, will headline the Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) Singapore Open in January, when the national Open returns after a three-year absence.

The New Paper had reported on Sept 26 that the world No. 2 golfer was set to tee off at Sentosa Golf Club's Serapong Course as a marquee player for the US$1 million ($1.4m) tournament from Jan 28 to 31.

And it was confirmed by organisers yesterday as the 22-year-old American, who counts the US Masters and US Open among five wins during a breakout 2015, said in a statement that he was "really looking forward" to playing in Singapore.

"Playing in the SMBC Singapore Open is something I'm really looking forward to. I'm very fortunate to play golf around the world and can't wait to visit Singapore for the first time," Spieth, a member of the US team that won the Presidents Cup in South Korea earlier this month, said in a statement.

With a minimum prize purse of US$1m, the SMBC Singapore Open will be jointly sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the Japan Golf Tour Organisation (JGTO).

The four-day tournament will feature the top 60 players from the Asian Tour, top 60 from the JGTO, leading Singapore professionals and amateurs and invites including players from the top 50 in the world.

Huge galleries are expected when Spieth parades his elegant swing at Sentosa's Serapong Course.

His inclusion in the field, along with the backing of new title sponsor Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, is a shot in the arm for the tournament, which returns with a bang after a three-year absence.

Formerly one of Asia's richest with a US$6m purse when it was last held in November 2012, the tournament was cancelled in 2013 after British bank Barclays chose not to renew its sponsorship.

Spieth will be trying to add his name to a list of illustrious champions, including three-time winner Adam Scott of Australia, England's Ian Poulter, Angel Cabrera of Argentina and Matteo Manassero of Italy, who triumphed in 2012.

"I know the SMBC Singapore Open is one of Asia's leading events and I couldn't be more excited to add it to my 2016 playing schedule," added Spieth.

Spieth, who also won the Valspar Championship in March and the John Deere Classic in July, recently triumphed in the Tour Championship to clinch the 2015 FedEx Cup and was named the US PGA Tour's Player of the Year.

But it was his performances in the Majors that made him the standout golfer this year.

Spieth's four-stroke victory in the Masters and a one-shot win at the US Open set up the possibility of the Texan becoming the first player in the modern era to complete the Grand Slam in a single season.

He also came within a few inches of making the play-off at the British Open in July.

Although his birdie putt from the Valley of Sin at St Andrews stopped short, Spieth's Major ambitions were not over for the year.

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He played some of his best golf at Whistling Straits in the US PGA Championship. before finishing second behind Australia's Jason Day.

The runner-up finish was good enough to take Spieth to top spot in the world rankings, fulfilling a lifelong dream for the American.

But Day replaced Spieth as world No. 1 in the latest golf rankings released on Monday.

The 27-year-old Day, who won his first Major title at the PGA Championship in August, took the top spot for the second time in his career.

He previously moved ahead of Spieth on Sept 21, but lasted just a week as the American won the Tour Championship to regain top spot.

Neither player was in action last week, which ensured that Day would edge ahead based on the rankings formula with 12.42 points average to 12.40 for Spieth.

"It is more than an honour to welcome Jordan Spieth, the winner of two Majors this year, to the first SMBC Singapore Open in 2016," said Mr Takeshi Kunibe, President and CEO, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC).

"We believe the participation of the most exciting golfer in the world today will open a new page in the great history of this event, which will be reborn as the SMBC Singapore Open."- Wire Services.

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