Six-time major winner Sir Nick Faldo will be on hand at the Siem Reap course he designed, the Angkor Golf Resort, to grace the opening of the inaugural US$300,000 Handa Faldo Cambodian Golf Classic which makes its Asian Tour debut from March 14 to 17.
A press release from the Asian Tour yesterday revealed the English golfing legend will also initiate a charity drive besides playing in a Pro-Am tournament in Phnom Penh on March 18.
The Cambodian Classic, which was conceived by Japanese philanthropist and businessman Dr Haruhisa Handa, will be held in conjunction with the 8th Asian Economic Forum.
Top golfers on the tour are expected to line up for an event which came as a relief to the Cambodian golfing community after the Cambodian Open was abruptly dropped from the tour calendar last year.
“I am really excited about this event and to see how the course here at Angkor Golf Resort plays in tournament conditions,” the Asian Tour release quoted Faldo as saying.
“It is a fantastic setting and I was delighted to be able to partner with Dr Handa and I look forward to supporting the good work of his organisation here and all around the world.
“His mission for golf to become a Paralympic sport is an inspirational one and something that all of us in golf – players, fans and governing bodies – should back to help it become a reality,” the former world No 1 said.
“Dr Handa has been incredibly generous around the world with his commitment to golf and wider social development. With his commitment we have built participation in the Faldo Series to 7,000 plus golfers in 27 countries annually. Many of our young champions, including the great Yani Tseng, are from Asia. It is an opportunity and an inspiration.”
Yani Tseng is the 23-year-old Taiwanese sensation currently ranked number 1 in the Women’s World Golf Rankings.
She is the youngest player ever, male or female, to win five major championships.
Faldo said the tournament in Cambodia will inspire more young Asian golfers.
“And in the true spirit of Dr Handa it will also support the Cambodian Red Cross and the people of Cambodia who have made quite an impact on me in my visits to the region,” he added.
“For those reasons, I am honoured to lend my name and my voice to Dr Handa in all his efforts.”
Dr Handa is the Chairman of the International Sports Promotion Society (ISPS) and has supported golf at various levels for more than 25 years.
He is currently sponsoring a number of professional tournaments around the world, using them as a platform to promote opportunities for blind and disabled golfers.
Dr Handa’s continued commitment to blind and disabled golf is the foundation of his wider mission for golf to become a Paralympic sport.
Dr Handa was also instrumental in the launch of the ISPS Handa Singapore Classic, which will return for its third edition on the Asian Tour in April.
In 2012, ISPS is also sponsoring golf events on the European Tour, LPGA Tour, Ladies European Tour, European Senior Tour, Golf Australia and Japan PGA, plus the Faldo Series, Faldo’s global golf development programme.
“While it is a privilege and honour for us to launch a brand new professional golf tournament on the Asian Tour in Cambodia, we will be using this tournament as a means to support the local communities through various charity initiatives” said Dr Handa.