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BlogMalaysian Preview and Picks

Maybank Malaysian Open

February 5 – 8, 2015

Kuala Lumpur Golf & C. C.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Par: 72 / Yardage: 6,967

Purse: $3.8 million

with $561,184 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Lee Westwood

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 9 of the top-50 in the latest Official World Rankings, with none in the top-50.  Those in the field are: #15 Victor Dubuisson, #20 Graeme McDowell,  #30 Lee Westwood, #31 Stephen Gallacher, #37 Thongchai Jaidee,  #42 Miguel Angel Jimenez, #47 Danny Willett,  #48 Bernd Wiesberger and #50 Marc Warren.

Last year the event only had two top-50 players in the field.

The field includes 12 of the Top-25 on the Race to Dubai standings for 2015.  Those players are #7 Marc Warren, #11 Bernd Wiesberger, #12 Andy Sullivan, #15 Kiradech Aphibarnrat, #16 Stephen Gallacher, #17 Miguel Angel Jimenez, #18 Thomas Pieters, #19 Thongchai Jaidee, #23 Eddie Pepperell and #25 Gregory Bourdy.

The field includes nine past champions: Lee Westwood (2014), Kiradech Aphibarnrat (2013),Matteo Manassero (2011), Anthony Kang (2009), Arjun Atwal (2003 & ’08), Peter Hedblom (2007), Thongchai Jaidee (2005 & ’04), Alastair Horsey (2002) and Wei Tze Yeh (2000).

A perfect way for fantasy golfers to check on the past performance of all the players in the Maybank Malaysian Open field is our performance chart listed by average finish. One last way to check who is the best is through a special formula worked out in Golfstats that gives us the best average performances at the Maybank Malaysian Open in the last five years or check out our sortable 8-year glance at the Maybank Malaysian Open.

A good cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmakers in England.

Time to look at our who’s hot and who isn’t:

Who’s Hot in the field for the Maybank Malaysian Open

Player Dubai Desert Qatar Masters Abu Dhabi South African Nedbank Challenge Alfred Dunhill DP World, Dubai Turkish WGC-HSBC Champions BMW Masters
Bernd Wiesberger
(259.33 pts)
T4
(80)
3
(90)
T6
(60)
DNP DNP DNP T16
(17)
T52
(0)
DNP T13
(12.33)
Andy Sullivan
(236.83 pts)
T4
(80)
T19
(31)
T57
(0)
Win
(88)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T21
(14.5)
T4
(26.67)
DNP T67
(0)
Marc Warren
(155.5 pts)
T13
(37)
2
(100)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T26
(8)
DNP T21
(14.5)
T39
(3.67)
DNP T43
(2.33)
Victor Dubuisson
(151.33 pts)
DNP DNP T4
(80)
DNP DNP DNP T2
(50)
T15
(11.67)
DNP T21
(9.67)
Stephen Gallacher
(145.5 pts)
3
(90)
T33
(17)
DNP DNP T12
(12.67)
DNP T31
(9.5)
T15
(11.67)
DNP T36
(4.67)
Emiliano Grillo
(142.67 pts)
T20
(30)
T5
(70)
T37
(13)
DNP DNP DNP 54
(0)
T11
(13)
DNP T8
(16.67)
Eddie Pepperell
(127.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
4
(80)
T26
(24)
DNP DNP DNP T26
(12)
10
(13.33)
DNP T26
(8)
Gregory Bourdy
(126 pts)
T13
(37)
T5
(70)
T37
(13)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T32
(6)
DNP DNP
Morten Orum Madsen
(125.33 pts)
T4
(80)
CUT
(-10)
T12
(38)
T41
(6)
DNP T16
(11.33)
DNP 73
(0)
DNP T61
(0)
Thomas Pieters
(116.67 pts)
T42
(8)
T38
(12)
T4
(80)
DNP DNP T8
(16.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Thomas Aiken
(115.67 pts)
T9
(45)
T38
(12)
CUT
(-10)
T5
(46.67)
DNP T16
(11.33)
T36
(7)
T64
(0)
DNP T39
(3.67)
Nicolas Colsaerts
(108.5 pts)
T32
(18)
T13
(37)
T26
(24)
DNP DNP DNP T31
(9.5)
T52
(0)
DNP T6
(20)
Tyrrell Hatton
(97.67 pts)
T55
(0)
CUT
(-10)
T6
(60)
DNP DNP DNP T6
(30)
T19
(10.33)
DNP T28
(7.33)
Alejandro Canizares
(95.67 pts)
T47
(3)
8
(50)
T12
(38)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T36
(4.67)
DNP T64
(0)
Oliver Fisher
(87.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
T10
(40)
T12
(38)
DNP DNP DNP T26
(12)
T60
(0)
DNP T28
(7.33)
Thongchai Jaidee
(81.83 pts)
T35
(15)
T23
(27)
DNP DNP T7
(18.33)
DNP T31
(9.5)
T36
(4.67)
DNP T28
(7.33)
Miguel A. Jimenez
(80.67 pts)
DNP DNP T20
(30)
DNP 6
(20)
DNP T42
(4)
T4
(26.67)
DNP 77
(0)
James Morrison
(77.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
T46
(4)
T6
(60)
T15
(23.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Anders Hansen
(75.67 pts)
T32
(18)
T19
(31)
T26
(24)
T46
(2.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Lee Westwood
(74.5 pts)
T9
(45)
DNP DNP DNP T16
(11.33)
DNP T47
(1.5)
T8
(16.67)
DNP DNP
Peter Uihlein
(65.67 pts)
T13
(37)
T58
(0)
T31
(19)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T11
(13)
DNP DNP
Pablo Larrazabal
(65.33 pts)
T20
(30)
T33
(17)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T16
(11.33)
DNP T16
(17)
T52
(0)
DNP T71
(0)
Hennie Otto
(63.5 pts)
T63
(0)
DNP DNP T13
(24.67)
DNP T22
(9.33)
T21
(14.5)
T19
(10.33)
DNP T36
(4.67)
Tommy Fleetwood
(60.67 pts)
T47
(3)
T23
(27)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T14
(12)
DNP T12
(19)
T32
(6)
DNP T39
(3.67)
Graeme McDowell
(57.83 pts)
T9
(45)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T47
(1.5)
DNP DNP T16
(11.33)

How Player Rankings are Computed

Who’s Not Hot in the field for the Maybank Malaysian Open

Player Dubai Desert Qatar Masters Abu Dhabi South African Nedbank Challenge Alfred Dunhill DP World, Dubai Turkish WGC-HSBC Champions BMW Masters
Marco Crespi
(-30 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Richard Finch
(-30 pts)
CUT
(-10)
T70
(0)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Graeme Storm
(-30 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T55
(0)
DNP T61
(0)
Jin Jeong
(-30 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Matteo Manassero
(-30 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP 59
(0)
T55
(0)
DNP 76
(0)
Lucas Bjerregaard
(-29.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T49
(0.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Mikael Lundberg
(-20 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Simon Khan
(-20 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
T66
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Simon Dyson
(-13 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP T16
(17)
T55
(0)
DNP T56
(0)
Paul Waring
(-10 pts)
T67
(0)
T70
(0)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz:

Already, we can see a better field this week with the new change of date.  Last year there were only two top-50 players and 12 top-100 players in the field.  This year there are nine top-50 players and 16 top-100 players.  So the change has already paid off.

One other organization that is getting “paid off” is the Royal & Ancient Club of St. Andrews who has decided to make a major change in their television partners.  For 60 years the BBC has been the television partners and for almost 90 years the Beeb has been a part of the British Open with their radio shows.  In 2017 Sky Sports will complete their 20 year journey in dominance as they have won the rights to broadcast the British Open.  Sky will be able to telecast all four majors, the Ryder and Presidents Cup, all the World Golf Championship events and every major event on both the PGA and European Tour.  As for the BBC, who 25 years ago aired all the majors, the Ryder Cup and all the big events on the European Tour that was in the British Islands it’s a near collapse as the only big event they will have is the weekend shared telecasts of the Masters.  Since that is a short-term contract, it’s not guaranteed to have the Masters in the future.

Golf-wise it’s a good and bad move by the R&A.  Sky has come a long way in the last 25 years in becoming the best at doing golf in Europe.  While Sky has constantly gotten better each year, the BBC has gone in the opposite direction and not kept up technology wise. The only real advantage the Beeb has is the voices of Peter Alliss and Hazel Irvin, but with Alliss in his 80s he doesn’t have many more years left in the booth.  Matter of fact it wouldn’t surprise me if Alliss retires after the Open at St. Andrews.

Now I say Golf-wise it was a great move by the R&A but for the overall health of golf, and the British Open it may turn into a dark moment.  Sky is a paid service and for people to watch golf on it the cost is about $50 a month.  While in the United States ESPN has made great strides to be in everyone’s home since it’s usually part of basic cable packages, Sky is a different story you have to buy that package to get it.  So on big events organizations aren’t afraid of putting marquee events on ESPN, just look the National Championship game was on ESPN last month and it got big viewership.  ESPN has been the exclusive home of all live British Open telecasts since 2010.  We say it’s the live home, ABC which was the home of the British Open since 1961 still shows the weekend rounds on tape, same day coverage so in a way it’s the best of both worlds in the United States.

Despite the great coverage Sky provides, they have one dirty little secret that they try to hide and that is viewership and that is the crux of the problem.  A couple of years ago the Beeb did the Masters and Augusta realized the shows could be better on Sky.  But Augusta was smart, it’s not about money for them; they want to be seen by the maximum amount of people.  So when Sky came looking for a contract in 2010, Augusta said it would love to have them for the four days, but the BBC would also televise the Saturday and Sunday shows.  So the Masters have been on both Sky and the BBC and although the Beeb isn’t as good they outpace Sky in audience by a five to one margin.  So that is the problem, do you go with better telecasts and get paid more from Sky or stay on BBC that offers many more viewers.  A sad example of this is the switch that Formula One racing did going from the BBC to Sky.  Worldwide audiences fell over 5% for a net loss of 25 million viewers over 2014.  Audience numbers of the Masters show that BBC gets 80% more viewers than Sky.  So the big question for the R&A was why they didn’t do the same with the British Open that Augusta National does with the Masters.  If they could of spilt the British Open telecast the same way it would of been a win/win for everyone (except for Sky) but the R&A choose taking about $5 million dollars a year more with Sky.

Still, the big question for all, in a time that golf is collapsing business wise and golf clubs are now starting to close in England, is this a terrible move?  The job of the R&A is not making money but to make golf accessible to the masses and grow the game.  So this bold move is not in the best interest of golf as many millions will be deprived of watching the British Open in future years.  As Lee Westwood told the Daily Mail, “many of us starting playing golf by watching it on television with the BBC”.  Many kids may never get exposed to golf while it’s on Sky.

So this is really terrible news for the business of golf.  I don’t know how the contract has been done, but the only thing I can hope for is that the R&A will broadcast the shows live and for free on their internet site.  Last year I noticed that the R&A made Iphone and Ipad apps available so that those folks could watch the Open over the internet.  Not only does the R&A have a big footprint on their sites, but Sky is also big on the internet.  So in a way I guess this is the future of golf, it’s not pretty.

Tournament History:

The event was first started in 1962 and became a co-sanctioned event with the European Tour in 1999.  It was the first tournament in Asia to be jointly sanctioned by the Asian and European Tour.  The tournament has had some marquee winners like Harold Henning in 1968, Graham Marsh in 1974 & ’75, Mark McNulty in 1980, Jeff Maggert in 1989, Steve Aloes in 199, Vijay Singh in 1992 & 2001 and defending champion Lee Westwood who also won it in 1997.  Since its inauguration in 1962, there has never been a Malaysian winner.  Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club has been the annual site of the tournament since 2010, it also held the 2006 event.

The event has been bullish on getting good players, even in years when it was the week after the Masters.  It was able to lure good players with appearance money and private jets flying the likes of Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood, Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen the Sunday night after the Masters.  This year the date changes to February with the hopes of getting a good field with three events in a row in Asia with Thailand next week and India the week after.

Course Information:

Played at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club (west course), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Par:  72 / Yardage: 6,967

  • The club opened in 1991. There are two 18-hole courses, the West course and the East course, both designed by Nelson Howarth. Since the 2006 Malaysian Open, the West course at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club has undergone a total redesign. Nelson & Haworth originally designed the West course, which opened for play in 1991, but brothers Ted and Geoff Parslow of design company E&G Parslow and Associates extensively reconstructed the layout over a period of eighteen months. The revamped West course reopened in October 2008.
  • The club hosted several major tournaments. The Maybank Malaysian Open was played at the West Course in 2006 and since 2010. It has hosted the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia on the LPGA Tour in October since 2010. The CIMB Classic on both the PGA Tour and Asian Tour were played on the West course in 2013 & ’14.  So it’s safe to say that the course has seen much of tournament action in the last couple of years.
  • This course is a parkland style course. Designed to reward the intelligent golfer, the length, layout, and toughness of this course along with lots of risk/reward holes makes the course interesting. The course features impeccable fairways and greens, challenging elevation changes and tough bunkering. Water comes into play on 11 holes and the back nine has three of the hardest holes in 11, 12 and 13. The finish is perfect for risk reward with the short par four 17th with water guarding the right side of the fairway and green and the reachable par 5, 18th

Here are some of the secrets of what it takes to play well at the Maybank Malaysian Open:

Key stat for the winner:

It’s always hard to fly long distances to get to Malaysia.  So you have to be fit and ready to go.  Marquee players always seem to do well at this event, Lee Westwood won it last year, with Louis Oosthuizen finishing 2nd.  Don’t be surprised to see someone like Westwood or Graeme McDowell do well this week.  Also, a good chance for someone who is just outside the top-50 to do well and find their way into the Masters and WGC events.

Here are some more key stats to look to for this week:

  • One thing that you see at Kuala Lumpur is good scoring but not extreme scoring.  Look at the winners and you see that they are shooting between 65 and 69, as only three winners since 1999 have shot over par and winning, the last being the first round 74 by 2009 champion Anthony Kang.  Also, important if you can go low on the par 5s like Louis Oostuizen did in 2012 playing them in 10 under that makes the journey so much easier.
  • Length is not important but again hitting greens is important.  Lee Westwood hit 55 of the 72 greens last year and that made the event easy for him.
  • Best not to get in trouble, a combination of water, and deep bunkers makes things tough for those that hit into them and easy for those that avoid them.
  • One thing that players will experience is warm and humid conditions.  The bad news, every day of the tournament will be in the low 90s but the good news lack of rain for every day except there is a 50% chance of rain on Saturday.  Again dealing with the hot, humid weather is a very important part in playing well this week.

Who to watch for at the Maybank Malaysian Open

Best Bets:

Victor Dubuisson

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T4 T11

Played great in his two starts at Kuala Lumpur.

(WAS A LAST MINUTE WITHDRAWAL LATE WEDNESDAY DUE TO ILLNESS.)

Lee Westwood

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
Win T42 WD

Can see him doing it again, played well at Dubai until the end.

Bernd Wiesberger

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T2 T33 T57 T61

Watch Him very carefully, was in the top-six in all three desert events the last month.

Best of the rest:

Pablo Larrazabal

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T8 T6 T24 T29

Has the power and experience of playing well at Kuala Lumpur.

Andy Sullivan

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T13

Another player doing well right now that has had good experience at Kuala Lumpur.

Stephen Gallacher

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T22 2 T11 T49 CUT T27

Finished second in this event in 2012, was 3rd in Dubai so playing well.

Gregory Bourdy

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T18 T11 T47 2 CUT T46 T34

Was runner-up in this event in 2011.

Solid contenders

Matteo Manassero

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T31 T17 T7 Win

Past champion that will be looking to find that Malaysian magic again.

Danny Willett

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T5 T3 T17 6

Another of those players to watch, has already visited the winners circle this year.

Thomas Aiken

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T11

Finished T9th in Dubai, was T11th in his only Maybank start in 2013.

Graeme McDowell

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T17 CUT

Has the game just hasn’t played well in this event, been seven years since his last start.

Long shots that could come through:

Thongchai Jaidee

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
T24 T33 CUT T17 T7 T30 CUT CUT 2 Win Win T21

Past champion looking to regain some of that lost mojo.

Danny Chia

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
CUT T51 CUT T41 T60 T11 T41 CUT T31 T28 CUT CUT

Best player in Malaysia has never done well in this event but you never know when he could do well.

Ben Leong

2015 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03
CUT CUT CUT CUT CUT CUT CUT CUT CUT

Another good Malaysia player his only problem is that he has missed the cut in all nine starts in this event, hoping to break the streak on a good note.

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