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Carlsberg boost to golf in Vietnam

Golf in Vietnam is an emerging force. New golf courses are slowly sprouting across the nation and more locals are getting hooked to the game.

From November 4-7, 2004 the formerly war-torn country will witness a massive development in its golfing landscape when the Asian Tour makes an historic stop for the staging of the inaugural Carlsberg Masters 2004 Vietnam in Hanoi .

With prize money of US$200,000 poised to attract some of the best professionals from the Asian Tour, a world-class venue in Chi Linh Star Golf and Country Club and a title sponsor, Carlsberg, who do not do things in half measures, the first staging of the Carlsberg Masters 2004 Vietnam is destined for a successful one.

It was only two decades ago that golf's popularity in Vietnam started to grow following the emergence of new golf courses, particularly in Ho Chi Minh, which previously organised the country's national Open on two occasions.

Expatriates are the main group of golfers in the country but the locals, estimated at below 1,000 players now, soon caught on with the game and have now become keen golf followers.

Now thanks to the birth of the Carlsberg Masters, officials are confident that the new event will spark a golf boom and help drive the popularity of the game further. It is also hoped that Vietnam will grow as a golf tourism destination and ultimately produce new golfing talents amongst its young players.

Carlsberg's rationale in sponsoring the tournament revolves around its global sponsorship programme where it is actively involved in prestigious tournaments across Asia and Europe .

"We are delighted to title sponsor a new and exciting event, the Carlsberg Masters Vietnam. Golf in this country is still very much at a developing stage, but it is in a strong growth and this is why we are committed to help the game grow in Vietnam .

"This new event is going to be the biggest sporting event in Vietnam this year and will put Vietnam on the international golfing map," said Carlsberg Brewery Vietnam General Director Henrik J. Andersen.

"Carlsberg, being the largest brewery company in the world and in Vietnam, has been an avid supporter of international golf for many years and this latest commitment is one which we are very hopeful will create a significant impact on the Asian Tour," added Andersen.

With the Carlsberg Masters 2004 Vietnam slated towards the tail-end of the season, the leading contenders for the Asian Tour Order of Merit crown are expected to converge in Vietnam to boost their chances of finishing as the Asian number one, a mantle that comes with several enticing incentives such as an invite into the British Open at St Andrews in 2005.

The support shown towards the event has been tremendous with Chi Linh Star, which opened for play in stages from November, 2003, being a major partner towards this new venture.

Other main backers include Thai Airways as Official Carrier, GM Daewoo as the Official Car, Canon as the Official Office Suppliers, Pepsi as the Official Drink and Hilton Hanoi Opera as the Official Hotel. Daewoo will provide a car as a hole-in-one prize during the tournament. I-Golf, French International Hospital , LG, Aquafina, Eurowindows, VinaAusteel and Nippon Paint have signed up as Event Partners.

The Chi Linh course has already earned widespread acclaim as the site lies within a beautiful valley and is surrounded by rolling forest hills, and nestles beside a large lake.

Chi Linh Star Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Doan Van An said the club is proud to be associated with the landmark tournament. "The launch of a new professional tournament in Vietnam is very exciting indeed. It will further boost the popularity of golf in our country and Chi Linh Star is delighted to be a part of this tremendous development.

"It is our ambition to see the Carlsberg Masters 2004 Vietnam enjoy a successful start and grow into one of the top events in the region," said Doan.

In the 1990s, the Vietnam Open was staged for a couple of years but it fell off the international golfing calendar. Asian Tour officials are steadfast in their belief that the Carlsberg Masters Vietnam will be able to play a big role towards golf's development in this growing nation.

For the Asian Tour, the birth of the Carlsberg-sponsored tournament on its calendar marks a significant development. "It is our aim to help spur the growth of golf in Asian countries, particular in emerging golfing nations such as Vietnam ," said Asian Tour Chief Executive Louis Martin.

"We are extremely excited that Carlsberg has undertaken the title sponsorship of the Carlsberg Masters 2004 Vietnam and this is a breakthrough development for the Asian Tour and the game in Vietnam .

"It is wonderful that Carlsberg has committed to a three-year agreement to stage the Carlsberg Masters Vietnam and the Asian Tour will look at ways to help the event grow and assist in the development of local players," added Martin.

To help boost the domestic golf scene, organisers have allocated five spots for local amateur players at the Carlsberg Masters Vietnam. Martin said this move will help local players gain exposure as they will tee up alongside the battle-hardened Asian Tour stars.

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