PGA Tour standout Rickie Fowler has withdrawn from the CIMB Classic, citing back issues. Charlie Wi, a resident of North Hills, Calif., and two-time winner in Malaysia, will replace Fowler in the lucrative $6.1 million showpiece at the Mines Resort and Golf Club from October 25-28.
“I am sorry to confirm, but I will not be competing in the KOLON Korea Open next week, nor the CIMB Classic the following week in Malaysia as planned,” said Fowler, a native of Murrieta, Calif. “Unfortunately, while not serious, I have battled a back issue for the past few months, and my doctors have instructed me that international travel and any tournament play is not in my best interest at this time. They have instructed me rather to focus on a therapy regimen in order to find relief as well as prevent potential issues in the future.”
Wi was eager to get the opportunity to play in the CIMB Classic. Born in Seoul, Korea, the California resident has two victories in Malaysia (1997 Kuala Lumpur Open and the 2006 Maybank Malaysian Open). In an up-and-down 2012 season, Wi finished 60th in the FedExCup standings. His year included a runner-up finish at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am as well as two other finishes in the top 4 (T4-Valero Texas Open, T3 The Greenbrier Classic).
Sanctioned by the PGA Tour, Asian Tour and Professional Golf Association of Malaysia, the CIMB Classic 2012 will see a top class international field of 48 players competing for a $6.1 million prize purse, with $1.3 million going to the winner.
The CIMB Classic will feature 30 players from the PGA Tour and the top 10 available players from the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit. Eight sponsor exemptions will make up the rest of the field.