Tour Tipped For Golf Boom

Mon 18 Feb 2013

Tour Tipped For Golf Boom

  • SHARE
Yangon, February 18: Golf’s leading officials and players have predicted a golden future ahead for the Asian Tour which begins its 10th season celebration with the Zaykabar Myanmar Open presented by Alpine starting on Thursday.
The region’s premier Tour, launched as a players’ organisation in 2004, has taken giant strides forward in the world of golf with the likes of Colin Montgomerie, Ernie Els, Arjun Atwal, Boonchu Ruangkit, Ed Moorehouse, who is the PGA Tour’s Co-Chief Operating Officer, and European Tour Chief Executive George O’Grady forecasting the Asian Tour to make further growth and a greater impact in world golf.
20090210232750501087_260
“This is where the boom of world golf is going to be,” said Montgomerie, who is an eight-time European number one. “I think it’s improving all the time. We’ve got an Asian, Y.E. Yang, winning a Major. I think there will be 10 Asian Major winners if you ask me again in 10 years’ time. I think Asia is where the future of the game is and will be in the years to come. Congratulations to the Asian Tour.”
Thai veteran star Boonchu has journeyed with the Asian Tour since striking the opening tee shot when the Tour was launched in 2004. He marveled at the expansion of the Tour, saying it would continue to bring about positive changes to the landscape of professional golf in Asia and around the world.
“The Asian Tour is consistently improving. In the past, prize monies were much lesser and there wasn’t room for players to improve. Now, prize monies are higher and there is more room for players to improve their games. Everything is improving on the Asian Tour. I hope the Tour can continue to maintain its good image and continue to produce more good players to compete on the world stage,” said Boonchu, who is a five-time winner.
Structured similarly to the PGA Tour and European Tour, the Asian Tour has now staged 239 tournaments and offered a staggering US$290 million in total prize money throughout the last nine seasons. It started with US12.3 million in the inaugural season while US$44.5 million was offered last year.
O’Grady, who helms the European Tour which is a strong partner with the Asian Tour through the successful co-sanction programme, believes Asia should be staging its own “Major” in the near future.
“There is no reason why a Major shouldn’t happen in Asia,” said O’Grady. “Britain has its own Major championship and they play in a particular kind of golf course - the links golf course. It’s (Asia) made up of so many countries and there is a wide range of golf courses throughout Asia. The impact of the game in this region is so great that I don’t see any reason why a Major shouldn’t happen here.
“I would like to pay my tribute to the Asian Tour. Congratulations for achieving the 10 years milestone and for everything you’ve done to unite the game in Asia and to inspire many great young talents,” he added.
PGA Tour’s Moorehouse added: “The Asian Tour is very instrumental in developing the game of golf in Asia. I think the Asian Tour has grown from a minor tour to a significant force that it is in Asia today. I go around Asia and talk to some of the companies which we do business with in the States and they have some of the arrangements with the Asian Tour, everyone is saying that it’s developing into a very good Tour.
“I think the reputation of the Asian Tour is growing and primarily, the success of the players who have achieved not only in an Asian Tour event but also co-sanctioned events like the CIMB Classic. The Asian Tour is definitely in the process of producing many good players.”
20121110779283571267_260
Four-time Major champion Els, who has plied his trade across the region since 1993, has also been impressed with the rapid expansion of the Asian Tour as the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia. The Asian Tour is a full member of the International Federation of PGA Tours which governs world golf.
“I would like to congratulate the Asian Tour on its 10th season. It’s been 10 great years and I’m really looking forward to its future. I first played here in 1993 and since that time, we have a Major champion coming out from Asia and the growth of the game has been unbelievable,” said the South African star.
India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar, a four-time winner on the Asian Tour, said the success of the Tour has provided the impetus for young players to aspire for stardom. “This is my sixth year on the Tour and I’ve seen great changes over the years which include greater prize monies, better golf courses and quality of players. It gets better every year. It’s a great inspiration for all the young players who have already seen the Asian Tour growing.
“Hopefully it can become the second biggest tour in the world one day. I think with the movement of the Asian economy right now, it is possible as sponsors are putting in heaps and heaps of money into tournaments. That is a key factor for the Asian Tour and it’s looking good now.”
Atwal, India’s first Asian number one and a winner in the United States, reckons Asian male golfers can go on to dominate the game similarly to the Asian ladies who have dominated the LPGA Tour over the last few years.
“It has grown by leaps and bounds,” enthused Atwal. “I think because of the way the economy is growing in Asia. It is only a matter of time, like you see the Koreans girls rule the LPGA; I think the Asians are coming.”
Last Friday, the Asian Tour’s Executive Chairman Kyi Hla Han and Chief Executive Officer Mike Kerr launched a commemorative logo to mark the Tour’s 10th season which symbolises “10 Years of Excellence” and the official tagline, “The Players’ Tour”.
20121214910661658382_260
Kerr also outlined the Tour’s vision for the next decade which includes Asian Tour members competing for over US$100 million through a full season of 38 to 39 tournaments by 2023, three more Major champions from Asia, three to four Asian players in the world’s top-10 and 10 members in the 2016 Olympic Games with the players delivering one medal by the 2020 Olympics.
The Zaykabar Myanmar Open will be held at the Royal Mingalardon Golf and Country Club.
About the Asian Tour
In 2013, the Asian Tour will celebrate a momentous milestone with its 10th season. As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia. This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include Abacus (Official Apparel Partner), BlackBerry (Official Communications Partner), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Supplier), Singha Beer (Official Beer), Srixon (Official Ball), Starwood Hotels and Resorts (Official Hotels and Resorts) and Rolex (Official Timekeeper). The Asian Tour has offices in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Also, visit us at www.asiantour.com, www.facebook.com/asiantourgolf, www.twitter.com/asiantourgolf, www.youtube.com/theasiantour and www.weibo.com/asiantourgolf