Westwood set to make Korean history

Lee Westwood will make golfing history in this week’s Ballantine’s Championship in Seoul.

Lee Westwood will make golfing history when he tees off on Thursday in the Ballantine’s Championship at Blackstone Golf Club near Seoul.

The high flying Englishman will be the first-ever reigning world No.1 to play in Korea.

But he won’t be the only high-profile golfer in the stellar field.

Also playing is three-time Major winner Ernie Els, the big-hitting US PGA Tour star Dustin Johnson and the Ryder Cup duo of Ian Poulter and Miguel Ángel Jimenez.

YE Yang. Asia’s first ever Major winner, is also in the field and leads a strong Korean challenge that also includes teenage star Noh Seung Yul, the reigning Asian Tour Order of Merit champion, and Kim Kyung Tae, a three-time winner in Japan last year.

Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee, winner of the Ballantine’s Championship in 2009 and runner-up to Westwood in Indonesia, is also in the line-up at Blackstone together with the defending champion, Marcus Fraser of Australia.

Westwood, the then World No 2, regained his place at the top of the World Ranking list on Sunday when he won the Indonesian Masters not too long before fellow Englishman, Luke Donald, the world No 3 was beaten by Brandt Snedeker in a play-off at The Heritage in the USA.

“I’m delighted to be coming to the Ballantine’s Championship as world No.1,” Westwood said of a tournament that is being co-sanctioned by the European and Asian Tours and Korea PGA. .

“Being top of the Official World Golf Ranking list makes me feel very proud and I’m sure Korea’s knowledgeable and passionate golf fans are aware of the hard work and dedication it takes to reach that position.

“I’m very much looking forward to the tournament and hopefully I’ll give the galleries plenty to cheer about in the coming days.”

Westwood’s landmark appearance at this week’s Ballantine’s Championship was hailed by David Ciclitira, chairman of event’s promoter, Parallel Media Group.

“When we first brought the Ballantine’s Championship to Korea in 2008 our vision was to give the Korean public the best, and only the best, in the world of professional golf,” he said.

“To have the current world No.1 appearing in the tournament is a fulfillment of that vision and testament to the ambition and aspiration of Ballantine’s and the many other people involved in the event.

“On behalf of Parallel Media Group and the Ballantine’s Championship, we would like to congratulate Lee on his achievement and we’re sure the Korean fans will be turning out in large numbers this week to applaud him.”