Asian Tour schedule boosted by Korean and Indian events
The Asian Tour has reached an agreement with the European Tour to co-sanction the Ballantine’s Championship in Korea and EMAAR-MGF Indian Masters.
The latest additions will further strengthen the Asian Tour’s 2008 Schedule which presently includes 25 tournaments offering in excess of US$28 million in total prize money.
Asian Tour Executive Chairman Kyi Hla Han said they were aiming to announce four other tournaments when negotiations are concluded with the respective sponsors.
Han expects the burgeoning 2008 Schedule to surpass the 30-tournament mark for the first time in the Asian Tour’s history. Last year, the Tour staged 27 tournaments with an all-time high of US$28 million in prize money.
He said the Asian Tour was pleased to co-sanction the Ballantine’s Championship and Indian Masters, which will offer US$2.9 million and US$2.5 million respectively.
The Indian Masters will be the season-opening event on the Asian Tour where it will be played at Delhi Golf Club from February 7-10. The Ballantine’s Championship will be held at Pinx Golf Club on Jeju Island, Korea from March 13-16.
Sponsors also announced today that Korean star Choi Kyung-ju, who captured his seventh US PGA Tour title at the Sony Open in Hawaii on Sunday, British Open champion Padraig Harrington of Ireland and Scotland’s Colin Montgomerie will headline the Ballantine’s Championship.
"We are delighted to announce that the Asian Tour have reached an agreement with the European Tour to co-sanction the Ballantine’s Championship and EMAAR-MGF Indian Masters," said Han today.
"The two new events in Asia will enhance our 2008 Schedule which is shaping up into a very strong one. Our players will continue to enjoy great playing opportunities and also test their games against the best players from around the world."
Han also announced several updates to the Schedule. The US$300,000 Asian Tour International, originally slated in Malaysia this month, will now be held in Thailand from March 20-23.
The US$300,000 Pakistan Open, which was initially slated for the end of this month, has been postponed indefinitely following a request by the Pakistan Golf Federation. The Pakistan Open and Asian Tour International are full-field Asian Tour tournaments.
The Singapore Masters, first launched in 2001 and jointly sanctioned with Europe, has been removed from the Schedule due to a lack of sponsors. However, Han is hopeful that the event, which has produced great Asian champions in the form of Arjun Atwal of India, Mardan Mamat of Singapore and Chinese duo Zhang Lian-wei and Liang Wen-chong, will make a quick return.
"We are in the midst of finalising the venue for the inaugural Asian Tour International in March while the Pakistan Open is expected to be played later this year," said Han.
"We are also in final discussions with several sponsors to stage new tournaments on the Asian Tour and I am confident that the Tour can surpass 30 events this season. The market place is showing a lot of confidence in the Asian Tour and this is being reflected by our growing Schedule."
It was earlier announced that the Royal Trophy, a matchplay showdown between Asia and Europe, had been postponed indefinitely following a period of mourning in Thailand due to the passing of the King of Thailand’s sister.
2008 Asian Tour Schedule
Jan 11-13: The Royal Trophy, Amata Spring CC, Bangkok (POSTPONED)
Jan 31-Feb 3: Pakistan Open, Karachi GC, Karachi (POSTPONED)
Feb 7-10: EMAAR-MGF Indian Masters*, Delhi GC, Delhi, US$2.5 million
Feb 14-17: Enjoy Jakarta Astro Indonesian Open*, Cengkareng GC, Jakarta, US$1.2 million
Feb 21-24: Event TBA
Feb 28-Mar 2: Johnnie Walker Classic#, DLF GC, New Delhi, US$2.5 million
Mar 6-9: Maybank Malaysian Open*, Kota Permai GCC, Kuala Lumpur, US$2 million
Mar 13-16: Ballantine’s Championship*, Pinx GC, Jeju Island, Korea, US$2.9 million
Mar 20-23: Asian Tour International, Course TBA, Thailand, US$300,000
Mar 25-26: The Open Championship – International Final Qualifying (Asia), Sentosa GC, Singapore
April 3-6: Philippine Open, Wack Wack GC, Manila, US$300,000
April 17-20: Volvo China Open*, Beijing CBD International GC, Beijing, US$2 million
April 24-27: BMW Asian Open*, Tomson Shanghai Pudong GC, Shanghai, US$2.3 million
May 1-4: GS Caltex Maekyung Open, Nam Seoul CC, Seoul, US$600,000
May 8-11: Pine Valley Beijing Open+, Pine Valley GC, Beijing, US$1 million
May 15-18: Event TBA
May 22-25: SK Telecom Open, Venue TBA, Seoul, US$600,000
May 29-June 1: Event TBA
June 5-8: Bangkok Airways Open, Santiburi Samui CC, Samui, US$300,000
August 21-24: Pertamina Indonesia President Invitational, Venue TBA, US$350,000
Aug 28-31: Brunei Open, Empire Hotel and CC, Bandar Seri Begawan, US$300,000
Sept 18-21: Mercuries Taiwan Masters, Taiwan GCC, Taipei US$500,000
Sept 25-28: Event TBA
Oct 2-5: Kolon Hana Bank Korea Open, Woo Jeong Hills CC, Cheonan, US$1 million
Oct 9-12: Hero Honda Indian Open, Delhi GC, New Delhi, US$500,000
Oct 16-19: Midea China Classic, Royal Orchid International GC, Guangzhou, US$500,000
Oct 23-26: Macau Open, Macau GCC, Macau, US$500,000
Nov 6-9: Barclays Singapore Open, Sentosa GC, Singapore, US$5 million
Nov 13-16: HSBC Champions (s), Sheshan International GC, Shanghai, US$5 million
Nov 20-23: UBS Hong Kong Open*, Hong Kong GC, Hong Kong, US$2.25 million
Nov 27-30: Omega Mission Hills World Cup, Mission Hills GC, Shenzhen, US$5 million
Dec 4-7: Hana Bank Vietnam Masters, Hanoi Phoenix Golf Resort, Hanoi, US$500,000
Dec 11-14: Cambodian Open, Phokeethra CC, Siem Reap, US$300,000
Dec 18-21: Volvo Masters of Asia, Thai CC, Bangkok, US$750,000.
* Co-sanctioned with European Tour
# Tri-sanctioned with Australasian Tour and European Tour
+ Co-sanctioned with Japan Golf Tour
S Special Event
January 15, 2008