Westwood Headlines Best-Ever Ballantine's Field

Lee Westwood will headline the strongest field in the history of the Ballantine’s Championship this week, fresh from regaining the World Number One spot.

Stars Yang, Johnson, Poulter, Jiménez and WestwoodThe Englishman has a superb record in the Far East with seven victories to his name, the latest of which came in last week’s Indonesian Masters on the Asian Tour on the day he celebrated his 38th birthday.

Westwood has the chance to make it back-to-back successes in the Far East when he makes his second appearance in the Ballantine’s Championship, which moves from its home of three years, Pinx Golf Club on Jeju Island, to Blackstone Golf Club in Icheon, near Seoul.

With four of the world’s top 17 players in the field - Westwood, Dustin Johnson, Ernie Els and Ian Poulter - the tournament is set to carry strong World Ranking points as Westwood attempts to strengthen his grip on the top spot, having dislodged Martin Kaymer from the game’s summit.

Westwood said: “Korea has really put itself on the world golf map these past few years with the performances of its top players and the facilities there are second to none, so it has all the makings of a great week.

“I’ve never been to Seoul before and it’s always nice to experience new places and cultures – and the courses in Asia are normally good, so I’m really looking forward to it.

“I’m delighted to be coming to the Ballantine’s Championship as World Number One.

“Being top of the Official World Golf Ranking 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 held the World Number One spot from November to February before Kaymer succeeded him but the Englishman heads to Korea as the game’s leading player once more, with a world class field ready to challenge him.

Big-hitting Johnson, the World Number 12, is making his debut in the tournament on a rare venture outside America, where he has won four times on the US PGA Tour.

Another player making the trip from the United States is Poulter, who is seeking his 11th European Tour title after capturing victory number ten on his last trip to the Far East in the UBS Hong Kong Open.

He is also making his first appearance in the tournament and like compatriot Westwood, he is hoping to capitalise on his previous good form in Asia, having also won the 2009 Barclays Singapore Open as well as the Japan Golf Tour’s 2007 Phoenix Open.

“It’s going to be another fun week, I’m very much looking forward to it and hopefully I can go one better than the last time I was in Korea,” said the 35 year old, who finished runner-up in the 2008 Korean Open.

Three-time Major Champion Els is chasing his second victory of the 2011 season after winning the South African Open Championship in his homeland. He finished tied ninth in last year’s tournament which was won by Australian Marcus Fraser after being reduced to 54 holes because of heavy rain.

Another Major Champion in the field is Korean YE Yang, who will spearhead the home challenge having played in last week’s Volvo China Open, where he was defending champion but missed the cut.

The Blackstone Golf Club was designed by Blackstone, JMP Design, who also designed the Luxehills International Country Club in Chengdu, where last week’s Volvo China Open was played.