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PMA rejects Asian Tour's comments

Major regional golf promoter Parallel Media Asia has stressed the Enjoy Jakarta Indonesia Open and Singapore Masters will proceed as normal despite a decision by the Asian Tour not to sanction either event.

PMA has also moved to set the record straight after what it called "wholly misleading" comments about the two tournaments by Asian Tour chief executive Louis Martin.

Martin was quoted last week as saying PMA had scheduled the Indonesia Open against the Amby Valley Masters in India, which will make its debut on the Asian Tour on March 2-5. He also claimed the Asian Tour had not been given any assurances about the sustainability of the Singapore Masters, scheduled for March 9-12.

Both events were successfully staged last year, when they were co-sanctioned by the European and Asian Tours, and the European Tour has again given sanctioning this year.

"The first point to stress is that PMA is not responsible for scheduling events," said PMA managing director Keld Kristiansen. "In the case of a co-sanctioned tournament, we agree dates with the European Tour who then confirm with the Asian Tour.

"Regarding the Indonesian Open, the European Tour reserved a provisional date while government and industry support for the event were being finalised. The Asian Tour were kept fully aware of this reserved date and were notified immediately of its confirmation on January 11.

"In the meantime, the Asian Tour chose to sanction a new event in India at the same time as the Indonesia Open, despite the fact that there are numerous vacant weeks in the Asian Tour calendar.

"Further, the Asian Tour's claim that it offered to postpone the Myanmar Open, due to be staged on February 23-26, so that the Indonesia Open could be held then, is a smokescreen. The World Golf Championships - Accenture Matchplay is being held that same week in California and the top European players will be taking part. Clearly, scheduling the Indonesia Open against that event is not an option.

"In any case, PMA, the Indonesian government and all sponsors have been working towards March 2-5 for the past six months, so a change of date at this late stage is impossible.

"In the case of the Singapore Masters, Caltex's five-year sponsorship agreement came to an end last year, so the European Tour asked PMA for financial guarantees that the 2006 event would proceed. PMA provided these to the European Tour's total satisfaction, and the European Tour duly informed the Asian Tour before Christmas that they would once again be sanctioning the event.

"In light of these facts, Louis Martin's comments that PMA is responsible for the scheduling clash between Indonesia and India and that we have failed to give assurances about the Singapore Masters are wholly misleading.

"Through the European Tour, the Asian Tour have been kept fully briefed about both events and, as far as both PMA and the European Tour were concerned, there was never any doubt that either would take place."

Kristiansen stressed that both the Enjoy Jakarta Indonesia Open and Singapore Masters would proceed as planned with European Tour sanctioning. He added that the events were supported by, respectively, the Indonesian Golf Association and the Singapore Professional Golfers Association.

"European players will, of course, take part and Asian Tour players will still be invited via local golf associations. We fully expect both events to be extremely competitive and very successful," he added.

Kristiansen emphasised the long-term potential of both tournaments. "The Singapore Masters has been successfully staged for the previous five years, always at the same time of year, and it has been a regular fixture on the Asian Tour calendar. We are very bullish about its future.

"As for the Indonesia Open, it was dormant for many years until PMA, the Indonesian government and sponsors made a commitment in 2004 to resurrect it in 2005.

"Despite the tragedy of the Asian tsunami, all parties honoured that commitment and organised the tournament under the most trying of circumstances. Not only did the event proceed, but it raised more than US$100,000 for tsunami relief and that strong charity angle will continue at this year's event.

"Also, we have an agreement with the Indonesian Golf Association to stage the tournament through 2012, so it is clearly an event that is here to stay."

Kristiansen pointed out that the real losers as a result of the Asian Tour's decision were the Asian players.

"Effectively, all Louis Martin is doing by refusing to sanction these tournaments is denying his membership the chance to play for more than US$2 million in prize money and world ranking points," he said. "We are mystified about why he would do that."



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