The bonds between East and West have been strengthened after the European Tour and Asian Tour announced a joint vision for the future of professional golf.
The business elements and membership portfolios of both Tours are to combine, with the intention of increasing playing opportunities and prize funds.
The European Tour’s chief executive officer Keith Pelley said: “We have enjoyed a wonderful relationship with the Asian Tour for many years and today’s announcement is the first step in the next stage of that partnership.
‘I am excited about the prospect of what is to come’ “I am excited about the prospect of what is to come and the opportunity that this announcement presents.”
An agreement has existed between the two tours since February 1999, when the firtst co-sanctioned tournament, the Malaysian Open, was staged at Saujana in Kuala Lumpur. Since then there have been 92 co-sanctioned events offering considerable playing opportunities for Members of both Tours with total prize money in excess of €160 million.
“By combining strength with strength, we will ensure that professional golf in Asia will continue to enjoy sustained growth in the long-term, plus deliver a stronger platform for our members to excel. This initiative will ultimately create an inimitable platform that will enhance our appeal to sponsors, partners and golf fans around the world.” said Mike Kerr, chief executive officer of the Asian Tour.
The next step is for both organizations to enter into an exclusive discussion period, working through key points with their boards, tournament committees and memberships. Further information about specific details will be announced in due course.
Asian Tour players who have won on the European Tour
Saltire Energy Paul Lawrie Matchplay (2015)
Nicknamed ’Asia’s John Daly’ for his burly frame and go-for-broke style of play, the Saltire victory put to bed a difficult spell, during which he suffered a loss of form following the 2013 death of his coach.
ISPS Handa Wales Open (2012), Nordea Masters (2014)
Became the first Thai to compete in all four Majors, a far cry from the two-storey wooden house in which he grew up. A former paratrooper, Jaidee came to the game late, turning professional aged 30.
Omega European Masters (2014)
Studied at Northwestern University in Chicago, where he was an All-American, before making his foray onto the Asian Tour, where he won his third start and finished 11th on the Order of Merit as a rookie.
Jeev Milkha Singh
Volvo China Open (2006), Volvo Masters (2006), Bank Austria GolfOpen (2008), Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open (2012)
The first Indian to compete on the European Tour, also became the first golfer from his country to participate in the Masters, where he finished in 34th. Has been granted the Padma Shri, the equivalent of a knighthood, by the Indian government.