Why doesn't the Asian Tour rival the PGA Tour or European Tour?
The question is simple but the answer is complicated, or so it seems! It has been discussed and argued by tournament organizers, national bodies, tournament professionals and it all comes down to one main issue, TV rights.
There are two factions going head to head since 2008 and they are the Asian Tour (owned by the players themselves) and the World Sports Group that runs the One Asia Tour.
This year there will be 22 tournaments on both the tours that will offer over US$1 million dollars in prize money and that’s not including the limited field CIMB (US $6 million) in Malaysia and the HSBC (US$8 million) in China.
And with Asian golfers now starting to win all around the world, there are sponsors waiting on the sideline - especially in China and Korea who are not sure which tour to support and therefore are not committing their sponsorship dollars.
When all parties can get together and come to an agreement (which does not look like its a possibility at the moment) there could be up to thirty two tournaments offering US$1 million plus prize money.
This will rival the Japanese Tour which is offering between US$1 million to US$2 million per tournament and losing tournaments each year.
When this occurs the thirty two tournaments could be classified as Tier One and this will allow the tournaments between US$300,000 to US$750,000 to be the feeder tour just like the Web.Com Tour for the PGA Tour, and the Challenge Tour for the European Tour.
Consequently this makes the local tour in each Asian country (like Korea, China, Thailand, Malaysia, India, Philippines, Taiwan, Indonesia and Singapore) as Tier Three Tours which will encourage the development of young Asian professionals and give them a pathway to become world class golfers.
For the good of Asian golf it makes sense, but in this circumstance it will take a person who can get both parties to sit down and find a solution that will allow the amalgamation of all tours in Asia under just one Tour.
It will happen, but let’s hope it’s sooner rather than later for Asian golf.
David Milne and Lawrie Montague - Pro Tour Golf College
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