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Why Has The Asian Tour Been Playing in Britain

By: | Tue 29 Aug 2023

WILL somebody please explain to me why on earth the Asian Tour has been playing at Close House and the Torrance Course at Fairmont St Andrews these past couple of weeks?

The last time I looked, Close House was in the North East of England and St Andrews Bay was located on the East Coast of Scotland. 

It’s okay, I know precisely why they have been teeing it up in this country. If you have been following these tournaments, played under the International Series banner, you will have realised that although you probably haven’t heard of half the field (I follow golf, and I have not the faintest idea who many of these men are) there has also been a fair smattering of LIV golfers in the field.

In reality, these are events they would not have chosen to compete in but, and it is a big but, there are world ranking points up for grabs. And, of course, there are no points available at LIV Golf tournaments because they have limited fields, are competed for over 54 holes and have no 36-hole cut.

Cho Minn Thant, the chief executive of the Asian Tour, insists that the only reason his tour has been in Scotland is because it is the home of golf. Fair enough. And Close House?

Fairmont St Andrews

Rahul Singh, also of the Asian Tour, said: “One of the most exciting things is that a number of countries that have not necessarily been part of any conversation with the Asian Tour are in touch with us. People who are reaching out to us to say, how do we get an International Series event to our country?” 

He says that it is only a matter of time before they head to the USA. Really? Can they really fit in any more events on the other side of the Pond? We have the PGA Tour, we have the Korn Ferry Tour, we have the LPGA and we have LIV Golf. And that is before you even start to think about all the mini-tours.

I am all for growing the game but this sounds like saturation to me. And does anybody really want to pay to see journeymen fighting it out? 

It is all about money. Sadly, the tournament at Close House, which featured 22 LIV Golf players, offered more prize money than the DP World Tour’s ISPS Handa World Invitational which was staged in Northern Ireland at the same time. Incredibly, it also offered more world ranking points.

Cho Min Thant said: “Becoming a member of the Asian Tour has suddenly become attractive. In the past it was your third or fourth option after you missed getting your card in America, Europe or Japan, you came to Asia.

“Now, I can confidently say that we are ahead of Japan already. And in some instances people are choosing Asia ahead of Europe.”

The growing rivalry means players will soon have to make a decision about where they compete long term. Several Asian Tour members missed the previous International Series event to be in Northern Ireland; among them Thailand’s Jazz Janewattananond and Japan’s Takumi Kanaya.

There were suggestions some of those with dual memberships were denied letters of release by the DPWT, and while Jazz finished in the top 10, and Kanaya not far behind, Kanaya sacrificed the opportunity to battle for top spot in the International Series, losing ground to Andy Ogletree in the race for the place with LIV Golf next season that goes to the order of merit winner. And there it is in nutshell - it is all about money, and the promise of even more.

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Tags: LIV Golf LIV Asian Tour

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