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Australian PGA modify new tour plan

The PGA of Australasia's ambitious "One Asia" tour plan has been modified to a series of World Championship of Golf-style events for the region.

Australia's original proposal for a new tour in partnership with Japan, China and Korea drew an angry response from the successful Asian Golf Tour, which saw it as a rival venture designed to prop up the dwindling Australian circuit.

But officials now say they are working with all the tours in a bid to target several events from each circuit which would be available to the best players from Australia, Japan, China and the other Asian nations.

The plan would be to offer an unspecified number of current tournaments which would be open to the best players from each country, without the need for a specific tour card.

PGA Tour commissioner Ben Sellenger has sent a series of proposals to Tour chiefs and is "collating the responses".

Sellenger said the idea was a "moveable feast" but agreed a decision needed to be made within the next month or two to give players the chance to plan their 2009 schedules.

The PGA earlier this year was confident of having four tournaments in a "One Asia" tour up and running by 2009 but has been forced to modify its scheme in the face of strong Asian Tour opposition.

He admitted the Asian circuit still had concerns about the idea but said there was a "50-50" chance of a modified series getting the green light next year.

"Discussions are still continuing. There have been concerns in the past and we've worked through a number of those," Sellenger said.

"One Asia was contemplating the creation of a new tour in the region which is the major concern of the Asian Tour because they currently run a tour that spans much of the region we're talking about.

"Co-operation they may contemplate would be a swing of events, one that sees all of the tours in the region continue onwards however certain central events...would be conducted that we all sanction and we all get our players to compete in.

Sellenger would not specify what tournaments might become co-sanctioned under the plan or what the responses of key tour bodies had been so far but said agreement would need to be reached soon if the idea were to proceed.

"In terms of getting any sort of regional structure for 2009, it becomes more difficult with each day that passes," he said.


September 9, 2008

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