Three Asian Tour golf events in India in 2009November 5th, 2008 - 1:03 pm ICT by IANS
Singapore, Nov 5 (IANS) India will once again host three Asian Tour events in golf, as the Tour is poised to offer a record number of events with over $42 million in total prize money in 2009.Three tournaments will make their debuts on the schedule next year, including two new full-field Asian Tour events in Thailand and a historic maiden tournament in Europe, said Executive Chairman Kyi Hla Han. In addition, two other tournaments, including the Thailand Open, will make a welcome return.
The cash-rich Barclays Singapore Open, HSBC Champions and UBS Hong Kong Open, which offers a combined $12.5 million, will once again bolster the back-end of the year prior to the season-ending Volvo Masters of Asia.
Han unveiled a 28-event schedule, adding that the Tour was finalising no fewer than five other tournaments, which will be announced in due course. Once concluded, the Asian Tour could hit an unprecedented 33 events, surpassing this season’s high of 30 events with $39 million in prize fund.
“From a broad view, the 2009 Asian Tour Schedule will represent the finest collection of the best tournaments across Asia, spanning from India all the way to Australia. We are also looking forward to the Omega European Masters in Switzerland which will be a ground-breaking event as it will be the first European event to be co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour,” said Han.
“We fully appreciate Corporate Asia’s continuous support towards professional golf during these challenging times. It has reinforced the confidence and belief that the framework within the Asian Tour is solid and vibrant as our schedule has grown with each passing year since our inauguration as a players’ organisation in 2004.”
From an initial 22 events with $12 million in prize money four years ago, the Asian Tour has grown by leaps and bounds. Han said the sustainable growth has enabled Asia’s talented stars to perform at the highest level and make a name for themselves internationally.
“Our expansion has been beneficial as new stars continue to emerge from all corners of the region. We have new champions like New Zealand’s Mark Brown, Malaysia’s Ben Leong, Noh Seung-yul of Korea, Australia’s Rick Kulacz and S.S.P. Chowrasia from India while other established names like Jeev Milkha Singh of India and Thailand’s Thaworn Wiratchant continue to perform well,” he said.
The new season will kick off in January with the staging of the Royal Trophy, which pits Asia against Europe in a Ryder Cup-style shootout in Bangkok.
The privilege of staging the first Order of Merit counting event belongs to the Asian Tour International which will announce its venue in due course.
India will host the Emaar-MGF Indian Masters, SAIL Open and Hero Honda Indian Open as golf in the sub-continent continues to enjoy its rise in stature. Malaysia will also host three events, the Iskandar Johor Open, which will double its prize fund to $1 million, Maybank Malaysian Open and Selangor Masters.
Thailand will stage four tournaments in 2009. The Thailand Open, last played in 2005, will make a return next March while the Black Mountain Masters will also debut in March. Another Thai event will be announced next week while the Volvo Masters of Asia will take its traditional place as the season-ending event.
The Indonesia Open will be one of two events in Indonesia, with the other being the Pertamina Indonesia President Invitational.
“Our talented players have shown in recent years that they have performed at a very high level, both at home and abroad, and our 2009 schedule will provide the stage for them to continue to showcase their growing abilities,” said Han.
“The first half of our schedule will include several new full-field events for our players which is tremendous. It is also great to see that events which made their debuts this year such as the SAIL Open, Emaar-MGF Indian Masters, Selangor Masters and Ballantine’s Championship have committed to the 2009 season.”
Asian Tour 2009 Schedule
Jan 9-11: The Royal Trophy, Amata Spring CC, Bangkok, Thailand.
Jan 22-25: Asian Tour International, Course TBA, $300,000.
Feb 5-8: Emaar MGF Indian Masters*, Delhi GC, Delhi, India, $2.5 million.
Feb 12-15: Maybank Malaysian Open*, Course TBA, Malaysia, $2 million.
Feb 19-22: Johnnie Walker Classic+, The Vines Resort & CC, Perth, Australia, $2.5 million.
Feb 26-Mar 1: Indonesia Open*, Dream Land-New Kuta Golf Resort, Bali, Indonesia, $1.25 million.
Feb 26-Mar 1: WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, Ritz-Carlton GC, Arizona, US, $8 million.
Mar 5-8: Thailand Open, Course TBA, Thailand, $500,000.
Mar 12-15: WGC-CA Championship, Doral Golf Resort and Spa, Florida, US, $8 million.
Mar 19-22: SAIL Open, Jaypee Greens Golf Resort, Noida, India, $400,000.
Mar 26-29: Black Mountain Masters, Black Mountain GC, Hua Hin, Thailand, $500,000.
Mar 31-Apr 1: The Open Championship International Final Qualifying, Sentosa Golf Club, Singapore.
Apr 9-12: The Masters, Augusta National GC, Georgia, US, $7 million.
Apr 16-19: Volvo China Open*, Beijing CBD International GC, Beijing, China, $2.2 million.
Apr 23-26: Ballantine’s Championship*, Pinx GC, Jeju island, Korea, $2.9 million.
Apr 30-May 3: Thailand Event, Details to be announced, $500,000.
May 7-10: Pine Valley Beijing Open#, Pine Valley Golf Club, Beijing, China, $1 million.
May 14-17: GS Caltex Maekyung Open, Nam Seoul CC, Seoul, Korea, $600,000.
May 21-24: SK Telecom Open, Course tobe announced, Seoul, Korea, $600,000.
June 18-21: US Open, Bethpage State Park, Black Course, New York, US, $7 million.
July 16-19: British Open, Turnberry, Scotland, $8.6 million.
July 23-26: Pertamina Indonesia President Invitational with main sponsor Qatar Telecoms, Course to be announced, Jakarta, Indonesia, $400,000.
July 30-Aug 2: Selangor Masters, Course to be announced, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, $300,000.
Aug 6-9: Brunei Open, Empire Hotel & CC, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei, $300,000.
Aug 6-9: WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, Firestone CC, Ohio, US, $8 million.
Aug 13-16: US PGA Championship, Hazeltine National GC, Chaska, US, $7.5 million.
Aug 20-23: Mercuries Taiwan Masters, Taiwan GCC, Taipei, Chinese Taipei, $500,000.
Sep 3-6: Omega European Masters*, Crans-sur-Sierre, Crans Montana, Switzerland, $2.5 million.
Oct 1-4: Kolon-Hana Bank Korea Open, Woo Jeong Hills CC, Cheonan, Korea, $1 million.
Oct 8-11: Hero Honda Indian Open, Delhi GC, India, $1 million.
Oct 15-18: Midea China Classic, Royal Orchid International GC, Guangzhou, China, $500,000.
Oct 22-25: Iskandar Johor Open, Course to be announced, Johor Bahru, Malaysia, $1 million.
Oct 29-Nov 1: Barclays Singapore Open, Sentosa GC, Singapore, $5 million.
Nov 5-8: HSBC Champions**, Sheshan International GC, Shanghai, China, $5 million.
Nov 5-8: Cambodian Open, Phokeethra CC, Siem Reap, Cambodia, $300,000.
Nov 12-15: UBS Hong Kong Open*, Hong Kong GC, Hong Kong, $2.5 million.
Nov 26-29: Omega Mission Hills World Cup, Mission Hills GC, Shenzhen, China, $5.5 million.
Dec 10-13: Volvo Masters of Asia, Thai Country Club, Bangkok, Thailand, $750,000.
* Sanctioned with European Tour.
** Sanctioned with European Tour, Australasian Tour, Sunshine Tour.
# Sanctioned with Japan Golf Tour.
+ Sanctioned with European Tour and Australasian Tour.
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