Asia is the future, say world stars
host of international stars have predicted a bright future for Asia,
saying lucrative events will continue to emerge and attract top
names and ultimately create a line of world-beaters from the region.
South Africa's world number six Ernie Els, who has played regularly
in the region, lauded the Asian Tour where he is competing in the
prestigious Johnnie Walker Classic which started on Thursday at
Blue Canyon Country Club.
"They have got a great tour on their own, the Asian Tour.
I've played some events on the Asian Tour. They play good golf courses
and they have a solid tour," said 'The Big Easy'.
He believes that part of the continued success of golf in Asia
has been a result of the co-sanction programme with the European
Tour, which he says provides the region's best players with a different
"Well, I think what The European Tour has done has really
helped the Asian Tour, to co-sanction events, to have the Asian
players play against stronger fields, and I think the Asian players
have really caught up really well. The standard of play has been
lifted through The European Tour, and subsequently, you have a lot
better Asian players," he said.
"I mean, already last year at the HSBC Champions, you know,
one of the Asian Tour players (Yang Yong-eun), won. Yang played
wonderful and beat the world's best. So that's an indication of
where it's going. So it's just a matter of time before they really
start breaking through."
His compatriot Retief Goosen, who has won three times in Asia,
believes the economic power of the region will be the driving force
for the future. "I feel that the way the economy is going over
here, and especially in China and those places, I think we're going
to see more and more events pop up in this part of the world,"
said the world number eight.
"I like playing over here. I enjoy the people, I enjoy the
golf courses, so it's always an area that I enjoy coming to, and
I feel that it won't be long before we're going to play quite a
few more events in this part of the world," added Goosen.
Australian Adam Scott, who at world number four is the highest
ranked player in this week's Johnnie Walker Classic, was another
who has been in awe at the growth of golf in Asia.
"We have seen the Asian Tour grow quite a lot, I have. Certainly
the Johnnie Walker has been a big event for 17 years now in Asia.
The growth of the (Barclays) Singapore Open in the last few years
and I hear big things for the future at the end of this year and
beyond for that event.
"I think with that, with more money and time and effort being
put into the Asian Tour, I think everything will snowball. The courses
will get better, the facilities will get better and players will
get better. Certainly if it's done the right way, Asia golfers are
going to become better golfers, and you know, champions," said
March 1, 2007