Waters supports Asian Tour over China Open status

The Asian Tour has enjoyed a fruitful if somewhat strained relationship with the Europeans over the past few years.

There are several tournaments in Asia that reside on both tours, including events in Malaysia, Indonesia, Korea, Australia and China.

Their biggest bust-up was in 2008 when Asian Tour chiefs accused their European Tour counterparts of invading Asian space by sanctioning events in India and Korea without the regional body’s involvement.

It was eventually sorted out but now the Asian Tour are battling an enemy from within – and they have an unlikely ally in the European Tour.

The OneAsia Tour, a collaboration between the Australasian PGA Tour and Korean and Chinese golfing bodies, has announced a limited schedule this season, which includes the China Open.

The event used to be on the Asian Tour and now tour chief Kyi Hla Han has banned his players from competing alongside players such as Colin Montgomerie, defending champion Damien McGrane, Paul McGinley and Darren Clarke.

However, the Europeans have come to the Asian Tour’s defence with director Keith Waters saying he wants to see the tournament back in its proper place. He was quoted by AFP as saying:

“When a new Tour, OneAsia, is formed and another Tour, the Asian Tour, is removed at short notice from tournaments they have sanctioned for several years there are going to be issues that require some discussion and clarification. We have suggested that the previous sanction arrangements remain in place for this tournament which is in just four weeks time, while discussions continue.”

Han was naturally delighted with Waters vote of confidence and insisted his players will boycott the US$2.2 million event, which offers the winner a spot in the Volvo World Match Play Championship in Spain.

The April 16-19 China Open is the first of six “super series” events on the OneAsia Tour and is the only one with European Tour co-sanctioning.

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