Europeans Provide Respite for Asian Tour

British Open champion Padraig Harrington, Scottish star Colin Montgomerie and homegrown KJ Choi will be among the leading names at the European Tour’s inaugural tournament in Korea from March 13-16.

The furore surrounding the nearly $3 million tournament has finally settled down after receiving joint sanction from the Asian Tour.

The Europeans ruffled the feathers of Asian Tour chiefs last year when they announced events in India and Korea devoid of Asian sanction.

However, there is now peace again between the two bodies with the Asians welcoming the opportunity to officially back the tournaments.

The reality is that the Asian Tour need the prestige after a bumpy start to 2008. With the Royal Trophy between Asia and Europe cancelled as well as postponements for the Pakistan Open and Asian International, they were desperate for something to go right.

And at the end of the day, despite all the ill-feeling towards the Indian and Korean events, the Asian Tour needs these tournaments more than the Europeans for what is so far a curtailed scheduled, though officials expect to announce more events later on.

The Ballantine’s Championship will be held at Pinx Golf Club on Jeju island with Choi, who won the Sony Open in Hawaii on Sunday for his seventh PGA Tour victory, certain to be the star attraction. He said in an Asian Tour press release:

“The Ballantine’s Championship will be a huge boost to golf in Korea and I’m very happy to be playing in the inaugural tournament. It will be an emotional experience for me to be teeing off in front of the Korean fans and they can rest assured I’ll be doing my very best to produce a home win.”

Monty has also had a good record on Asian soil, winning in Hong Kong, Macau and China. He will be keen to add to his list in Korea.

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