The Johnnie Walker Classic, will make a welcome return to Perth, Western Australia when the 2009 event tees off from February 19 to 22 at the Vines Resort & Country Club. It will be the tournament&aposs fourth visit to Western Australia for the and the fifth time the event has been staged in Australia following its Antipodean debut back in 1997 at the Hope Island Golf Club. “The Johnnie Walker Classic one of Asia Pacific&aposs most established and popular golf events,” said David Gates, Global Brand Director for Johnnie Walker. “It has always enjoyed tremendous success at the various exotic locations that it has visited but we are especially looking forward to returning to Western Australia as it is a destination that offers fantastic weather, tremendous courses, excellent facilities and a truly warm welcome.” The tournament&aposs unique status of being tri-sanctioned by the European, Asian and Australasian Tours has meant that the Johnnie Walker Classic has always delivered a stellar field of top players from all over the globe. The first tournament was played at the Hong Kong Golf Club, at Fanling, in 1990. Nick Faldo won that inaugural event and went on to win a second time, three years later at the Singapore Island Country Club. Since that first year the Classic has been won by some of the best known players in the game: Greg Norman in 1994, Fred Couples in 1995, Ian Woosnam in 1996, Ernie Els won the first of his two Classics at Hope Island in 1997 and again at Perth&aposs Lake Karrinyup in 2003, Tiger Woods in 1998 and 2000, Michael Campbell in 1999, Retief Goosen in 2002, Miguel Angel Jimenez in 2004 and Australia&aposs Adam Scott in 2005. “Australia&aposs golfing fans can look forward to watching some top quality golf action by some of the world&aposs best players right on their own doorstep as well as enjoying some great off-course entertainment and atmosphere throughout the week,” Gates continued. In all the Johnnie Walker Classic has been played in eight different countries and 13 different golf clubs around the Asia Pacific region including China and last year, for the first time, India. In returning to the Vines Resort and Country Club the Johnnie Walker Classic will be making a welcome return to one of Western Australia&aposs premier golf courses. Designed by Graham Marsh and Ross Watson, the Vines, set in the famous wine growing region of the Swan Valley and framed by the foothills of the Darlings Range, will set a stern test for all the players who will be competing in the 18th Johnnie Walker Classic for the famous &aposStriding Man&apos trophy. Western Australia Tourism Minister, Sheila McHale, said she was looking forward to Perth hosting the 2009 Johnnie Walker Classic. “Past Johnnie Walker Classic tournaments have proven very popular and the event is a great tourism drawcard,” Ms McHale said. “Western Australia last hosted the Johnnie Walker Classic in 2006, attracting about 40,000 spectators, as well A$8.7million in direct visitor expenditure for the State economy.” The 2009 Johnnie Walker Classic will be contested by 156 players, with the field reduced to the top 65 and those tied for 65th place after the second round. All four days will be covered live by TV with the action being broadcast in over 45 countries around the world.