Take It From Me: Todd Rhinehart

Todd loves to play golf at TPC Kuala Lumpur, holiday in Cherating and eat spicy food.

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Take It From Me: Todd Rhinehart
Photo: Todd Rhinehart

Occupation: Executive Director of CIMB Classic
Nationality: American
Time in Malaysia: 6 years

First impressions of Malaysia
We really loved the cultural melting pot that is truly Malaysia. Surprisingly to many, we fell in love with the great food – our motto is ‘the spicier the better’! We also truly enjoy the climate here too. We lived in Atlanta, Georgia in the US before moving here, and experienced this weather for three months of the year. We will never live in a climate with cold weather ever again.

The CIMB Classic
It has been very rewarding over the last five years running the CIMB Classic, the PGA TOUR’s only official FedExCup event in Southeast Asia. This includes the quality and strength of the players and elevating the staging of Southeast Asian golf tournaments to a new level. At times, it’s challenging determining what fan enhancements or initiatives that are successful at our US tournaments translates to success here in Malaysia, but we won’t stop bringing new ideas and elements that will drive the overall fan experience with the CIMB Classic.

Favourite golf course
TPC Kuala Lumpur: two great golf courses that are always in good condition. The facilities are at the very top in Malaysia. It also probably helps that our PGA TOUR office for Southeast Asia is located here as well, but I probably need to spend some more time on the driving range based on my last few games of golf!

Vacation checklist
Our favourite vacation spot in Malaysia is definitely Ruby’s Resort in Cherating, about a three-hour drive from KL. We brought our eight-year old Yorkshire Terrier, Marley, with us to KL from the US when we moved here in 2012. Ruby’s is a dog-friendly ‘glamping’ resort right on the beach so it is great having a place to go with our ‘children’. In 2016, we adopted a Malaysian mix dog, Rita, from Ruby’s, so lots of great memories will stay with us for a lifetime from Cherating!

Favourite KL hangouts
KL has many great spots to hang out. We live in Desa Sri Hartamas so we spend a lot of time in the square, which has many great restaurants and bars like Bricks and Barrels, Naughty Nuri’s, and others. Since my office is at TPC Kuala Lumpur, I luckily only have a 5km drive to and from work each day, so I avoid the traffic. I also try not to go to downtown KL on a Friday night, which we all know can be very challenging with traffic!

Enjoying outdoors
A great day outdoors would include a family walk with my wife Lisa and our dogs Marley and Rita. After that, a game of golf with friends at TPC Kuala Lumpur, and then finishing off the day barbecuing at home with family and friends. I played lots of sports growing up, competing at various levels in basketball, tennis, football, cross country and golf. Now, I typically keep to golf, light running or walks. I have never competed in a Spartan Race or a triathlon, but I always admire and respect those that compete in those activities!

Sports and family
My favourite childhood memories revolve around sports and my dad, who unfortunately passed away last November. He introduced every sport to me growing up, but golf is what stuck the most. No matter how busy he was, he always had time to take me to the golf course on weekends or to the driving range to practice – even repairing our backyard fence after I broke it practicing my short game! I went with him to play golf with clients as a teenager, and realised then how much business can be done on a golf course. Sports, and particularly golf, is a great place to bond with family, as time is so precious to everyone these days!