Singapore Open Organisers Out To Raise Profile

Organisers of the Singapore Open are keen to see their tournament become recognised as the “Asian Major”. Indeed, they have done much to boost its prestige. Prize money for this year’s event has risen 25 per cent to $4 million and world number four Adam Scott, of Australia, has agreed to defend the title he has won the past two years.

Also competing from November 1-4 at the Serapong Course are Major winners Ernie Els, Vijay Singh and Michael Campbell. Irishman Darren Clarke has signed up as well.

Money and big-names, though, are not enough to give a tournament a high status. Recognising this, organisers are this year holding one of their qualifying tournaments outside of Singapore for the first time.

Two qualifying places for the Asian Tour event will be available through a two-round competition at the Shinyo Country Club near Nagoya in Japan, from October 1-2. The other qualifier, offering eight places, is to be held at the Tanjong Course, near Serapong at the Sentosa Golf Club, from October 29-30.

Whether or not such a move helps raise the tournament’s profile remains to be seen, but Graham Bell, the Open’s chairman, is excited by the development, as he says on the Asian Tour website:

“We set out to make the Barclays Singapore Open a true Open. Holding the first-ever qualifier outside of Singapore takes us a step further in that direction. With a stellar line-up, a new and improved Serapong Course, an even bigger prize purse of US$4 million and great partners that make it happen, this year’s Barclays Singapore Open will set new benchmarks for the tournament.”

The course itself, built on reclaimed land and jutting out into the sea, is being improved to make it more difficult. When Scott won two years ago, the rough was already like steel bristles. This year, the greens will be faster while yardage has been lengthened from 6,565 to 6,710.

A unique aspect of the Singapore Open is that, unlike other relatively bigger-money events on the Asian Tour, it is not co-sanctioned by the European Tour, which is behind the recently completed Singapore Masters.

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