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Asian Tour launch new US$1m tournament

The Asian Tour will stage a new US$1 million tournament in Singapore in January, 2005, one of the richest events on the Island Republic .

The Asian Tour has signed a sanction agreement with the World Sport Group for them to promote what will be the Tour's flagship event in Singapore and has invited the European Tour to co-sanction the event.

Asian Tour Chief Executive Louis Martin said: "This is exciting news for the Asian Tour and I would like to thank the World Sport Group for its initiative to promote a new event which the Tour is confident will be world-class. Our playing membership is delighted to welcome on board a tournament which offers US$1 million in prize money."

The Asian Tour has staged and sanctioned 12 tournaments on the 2004 schedule and an exciting calendar for the second half of the year looks increasingly promising as the Asian economies recover from recent setbacks.

In making this statement, the Asian Tour has re-affirmed its desire to maintain a strong relationship with the European Tour through its co-sanctioning programme.

"The Asian Tour was established in Singapore in January this year with the aim of safeguarding and enhancing the careers of the region's players. An important part of this strategy is to offer our players the opportunity to develop their skills through playing in competitions on other Tours . Co-sanctioning with the European Tour has provided our players with this opportunity in the past and we would like to continue to provide our players with this opportunity in the future," Martin said.

"The Asian Tour has issued a schedule of 2004 events for which it has sanction agreements with a number of promoters. As in previous years, a number of the Asian tournaments are co-sanctioned with other Tours at the invitation of the Asian Tour.

"The European Tour has at all times maintained this protocol and on numerous occasions reiterated that they (the European Tour) will only be in Asia by invitation of the Asian Tour. The board of the Asian Tour has invited the European Tour to co-sanction a number of events on the 2004 Schedule. Additionally, the Asian Tour has been invited by the Japan Golf Tour to join them in co-sanctioning an event in Okinawa , Japan in December, 2004."

Martin categorically refuted any suggestion that Parallel Media Group's 'Asian Series' was sanctioned by the Asian Tour or that it had agreed to any linking of these events to the Asian Tour schedule.

"The Asian Tour currently has no sanction agreements in place with Parallel Media or its subsidiaries. Our players have stated that they will not participate in any events promoted by Parallel Media in Asia , unless they agree to enter into arrangements with the Asian Tour on terms that protect and promote the interests of the players," said Martin.

2004 ASIAN TOUR SCHEDULE

Jan 22-25: Areeya Thailand Open, Royal Thai Air Force Club, Bangkok ,

US$300,000

Jan 29-Feb 1: Johnnie Walker Classic#, Alpine G&SC, Bangkok , US$1,600,000

Feb 12-15: Myanmar Open, Yangon Golf Club, US$200,000

Feb 19-22: Carlsberg Malaysian Open*, Saujana GCC US$1,210,000

Feb 26-29 DHL Philippine Open, Riviera GCC, Manila US$175,000

Mar 18-21: Caltex Masters Presented By Carlsberg , Singapore 2004*, Laguna National GCC, Singapore , US$900,000

Mar 25-28: Royal Challenge Indian Open, Delhi GC, US$300,000

April 29-May 2: Volkswagen Masters - China , Pine Valley GC, Beijing , China ,

US$300,000

May 6-9: Macau Open, Macau GCC, US$275,000

May 13 -16: BMW Asian Open*, Tomson GC, Shanghai , China , US$1,500,000

May 20-23: SK Telecom Open, Baekahmvista CC, Korea , US$400,000

Aug 19-22: Tianjin TEDA Open, Tianjin Warner International GC, China , US$200,000

Sept 9-12: Kolon Korean Open, Woo Jung Hills CC, Korea , US$400,000

Sept 16-19: Mercuries Masters, Tamsui GCC, Taiwan , US$390,000

Oct 14-17 Crowne Plaza Shanghai Classic, Tomson GC, China US$200,000

Oct 28-31: Sanya Open, Yalong Bay GC, China , US$200,000

Nov 4-7: Carlsberg Masters Vietnam , Chi Linh Star GCC, Hanoi , US$200,000

Nov 18-21: Hero Honda Masters, Course TBA, New Delhi , US$300,000

Nov 25-28: Volvo China Open*, Shanghai Silport GC, US$1,000,000

Dec 9-12: Volvo Masters of Asia , Kota Permai GCC, Malaysia , US$550,000

* Joint-sanctioned with European Tour.

# Tri-sanctioned with European Tour and PGA Tour of Australasia .

Note: The US$830,000 Okinawa Open, staged in December 2003 and jointly sanctioned with the Japan Golf Tour Organisation, will also count towards the 2004 Asian Tour Order of Merit.

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