Woods and Els to play in Asian Tour events
champions Tiger Woods and Ernie Els will grace the region's fairways
when the Asian Tour begins its homeward march towards another record-breaking
After a two-month summer break, the 2006 Asian Tour Schedule resumes
this week with the staging of the Crowne Plaza Open at Yalong Bay
Golf Club on the holiday isle of Hainan, south of China.
The US$200,000 event marks the start of a busy campaign up till
December with marquee events such as the Barclays Singapore Open,
HSBC Champions, UBS Hong Kong Open and the season-ending Volvo Masters
of Asia in Thailand highlighting yet another impressive calendar
for the Asian Tour.
Nine more events offering prize money of US$.8.6 million will be
played and when the last putt drops to close the 2006 season, a
total of US$24.2 million in total prize money, an all-time high
in Asian golf history, would have been offered to the region's stars.
Asian Tour Chief Executive Louis Martin is predicting an exciting
next few months and said there were indications that other events
could join the Schedule before the year is up.
"Our second half of the season looks exciting with some wonderful
events lined up. We will be privileged as some of the world's top
stars will feature in Asia and the focus will be firmly on the race
for the Asian Tour's UBS Order of Merit crown," said Martin.
"With so much money to play for, and with the prospect of a
couple more events joining our Schedule, it promises to be an exciting
period and I'm sure it will be a race to the finish line when our
elite players take their places at our Tour Championship, the Volvo
Masters of Asia."
Woods, who recently won his 50th career victory on the US PGA Tour,
will continue his globe-trotting ways with another appearance at
the US$5 million HSBC Champions, a special event on the Asian Tour,
in Shanghai this November. Els, a three-time major winner, will
headline the Barclays Singapore Open, billed the Major of Asia,
from September 7-10.
Woods, an 11-time major winner, said: I had a lot of fun last
year and I am delighted to be returning to the Shanghai Sheshan
International Golf Club for a second time. Its a title I really
want to win," said the 30-year-old American ahead of the event
which is jointly sanctioned by the European, Southern African, Australasian
and Asian Tours.
With a US$3 million prize pot, which makes the Singapore Open the
richest Open in the region, the Asian Tour's flagship event will
showcase an all-star cast led by Els, defending champion Adam Scott
of Australia, England's Lee Westwood, Michael Campbell of New Zealand,
American Fred Couples and Japan's Shingo Katayama.
Asia's top guns, India's Jeev Milkha Singh, the current UBS Order
of Merit leader, Thai stars Thongchai Jaidee and Thaworn Wiratchant,
Jyoti Randhawa of India and Singapore's Mardan Mamat will also vie
for one of the biggest purses in Asian golf, with the winner taking
home a whopping US$475,500.
"The Barclays Singapore Open keeps setting a new benchmark
for all Opens in Asia. With the unwavering commitment from our new
title sponsors Barclays Bank and the vision of Sentosa Leisure Group,
this Championship no doubt deserves the title as the Major of Asia,"
Following the conclusion of the Crowne Plaza Open on Sunday, the
Tour heads to Bandar Seri Begawan for the second edition of the
US$300,000 Brunei Open at the Jack Nicklaus- Empire Hotel and Country
Club with the likes of Thongchai, Thaworn and Randhawa headlining
The US$300,000 Pulai Springs Malaysian Masters will make its debut
a week prior to the Singapore extravaganza while other regular stops
include the Kolon Hana Bank Korea Open, Mercuries Taiwan
Masters, Taiwan Open, Volkswagen Masters-China and Hero Honda Indian
The growing interest of the professional game in Asia has seen no
fewer than five tournaments in the second half of the year increase
their prize funds, which Martin was delighted to note.
"It's tremendous that tournaments are increasing the levels
of prize money annually, which signals the growing strength of Asian
golf. With a line-up of international sponsors such as UBS, Barclays,
Volvo and HSBC, it is a very clear endorsement of the Asian Tour
and what we have achieved for Asian golf and our members,"
ASIAN TOUR SCHEDULE AUGUST TO DECEMBER
Aug 17 20: Crowne Plaza Open, Yalong Bay GC, Sanya, China,
Aug 24 27: Brunei Open, Empire Hotel & CC, B.S. Begawan,
Aug 31 Sept 3: Pulai Springs Malaysian Masters, Pulai Springs
Resort, Johor Bahru, Malaysia, US$300,000
Sept 7-10: Barclays Singapore Open, Sentosa GC, Singapore US$3,000,000
Sept 21 24: Kolon - Hana Bank Korea Open, Woo Jeong Hills
CC, Seoul, US$700,000
Sept 28-Oct 1: Mercuries Taiwan Masters, Taiwan GCC, Taipei, US$500,000
Oct 5 8: Taiwan Open, North Bay GCC, Taipei, US$300,000
Oct 12-15: Volkswagen Masters-China, Yalong Bay GC, Sanya, US$300,000
Oct 19-22: Hero Honda Indian Open, Delhi GC, New Delhi US$300,000
Nov 9 12: HSBC Champions (s), Sheshan Int. GC, Shanghai,
Nov 16 19: UBS Hong Kong Open*, Hong Kong GC, Hong Kong US$2,000,000
Dec 14 17: Volvo Masters of Asia Thai CC, Bangkok, US$700,000
* Co-sanctioned with European Tour
(s) Special Event
August 15, 2006