Hyped-Up Asian Tour Needs Reality Check

The Asian Tour and regional media are enjoying what often amounts to a comical, naïve and blindly jovial relationship.

I must admit, as a journalist, I’ve also been guilty of this.

The Asian Tour is worth supporting. There are people at the top who genuinely care. There are players who have worked hard and have been given a platform to pursue a career, given that the major tours in the US and Europe are not easily accessible.

However, it’s time the Tour, and the media, start to acknowledge some of the faults.

Theirs has been a sycophantic relationship, with the media willing to reprint, word for word, whatever flowery and self-gratifying articles the Asian Tour spews out.

As one or two fellow journalists know, I often seethe at Asian Tour press releases that talk about their players as “legends”.

If any one Asian Tour player, none of whom have won a major tournament, is a legend, then there are just no words to describe the lofty position Zach Johnson must hold for simply winning a single US Masters.

Tiger Woods? On another universe!

They also talk about the “coveted” Asian Tour Order of Merit title. It is so coveted, that one of the key challengers in the 2007 race did not even bother to turn up for the last three events.

When the Asian Tour had a spat with Europe over new events in India and Korea, they sent out statements from their officials and the press happily reproduced the quotes.

However, when I wanted follow-up articles several weeks later, the Tour made it difficult for me to get an interview with Tour boss Kyi Hla Han. It seems they only talk when they want their own point of view put forward.

Then, there are the blatant suppression of facts. They sent out a release talking about how strong next year’s schedule is going to be, but hide the fact that one of its major tournaments, the TCL Classic, has been cancelled.

They even omitted the Qatar Open losing its sanctioned status, though I understand that the tournament has since rejoined the Asian Tour.

No journalist bothered to dig deeper and expose these nuggets of “negative” news.

Meanwhile, Australia and Japan are joining forces for a OneAsia Tour while the Asian Tour is trying to figure out what is going on.

I would love to see the Asian Tour succeed and their players go on to better things on the global stage, as Korean KJ Choi has done.

However, reading some of their releases, you’d think Asian players are already occupying several top-10 places in the world rankings.

For those who have ever watched the classic Rockumentary spoof, “This Is Spinal Tap”, you know what I mean when I say the dial on the Asian Tour’s publicity amplifiers go to 11.

It’s time for them to be more realistic and the journalists, myself especially, to start asking more questions.

They don’t need hype to be successful, just a bit of honesty.

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