New Asia-Pacific golf series signals potential conflict with Asian Tour


New Delhi : The announcement of a six-event professional golf series in the Asia-Pacific region – China, Australia and South Korea, with the possibility of Japan joining in – has set the stage for a potential conflict with Asian Tour that governs golf in the continent.

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The Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) of Australia, which has been keen on a Tour to revive itself as its own tour has failed to elicit interest, announced the series with six events, three of which will be held in China.

Interestingly, all three events – the Volvo China Open (April 16-19, 2009), Beijing Open (May 7-10) and the China Classic (October 15-18, 2009) are also listed in the Asian Tour calendar announced much earlier. Adding a further twist is the fact that the Volvo China Open is also co-sanctioned by European Tour.

The Australian Open (Dec 3-6) and Australian PGA Championship (Dec 10-13) will also form part of the new series, while Korea Open, which is also mentioned in the Asian Tour, is also expected to join in.

The position of the Johnnie Walker Classic, which is tri-sanctioned by the European Tour, Asian and Australasian Tours, is not clear. The 2009 edition is scheduled to be held in February in Perth, Australia.

As of now no event has been scheduled in Japan for 2009 and it is unlikely to happen this season.

There has been no comment from Asian Tour, which has already it clear that they are not in favour of another Tour coming into the region.

The Asian Tour, the main sanctioning body for professional golf in the region, has consistently refused to endorse such a series or a ‘One Asia’ Tour. Golf authorities in Australia and Japan have long been in talks with officials from China and South Korea to set up an alternative tour across Asia besides the Asian Tour.

“The Asia-Pacific region needs to collectively be the master of the destiny of professional tournament golf in this region. The formation of a consolidated Asia-Pacific tournament series is the first exciting stage of this process. This will go a long way to developing a strong pathway for players of this region,” Max Garske, chief executive of PGA of Australia, was quoted as saying by the Sydney Morning Herald.

Australia is not part of the Asian Tour, and Japan will host only one Tour event in 2009.