In this handout photograph received from the Asian Tour on 3 November, (L-R) Rahil Gangjee of India, Mithun Perera of Sri Lanka and Chiragh Kumar of India pose with the trophy ahead of the Panasonic Open India at the Delhi Golf Club. The Asian Tour event will be held from 5-8 November. AFP
(AFP) - Asian Tour CEO Mike Kerr on Tuesday said he has allayed players’ fears that they could lose out in a merger with the European Tour, adding that the move was aimed at nurturing “elite golfers” to drive the sport in the region.
Kerr said the proposed creation of a mega-tour straddling Europe and Asia would go ahead and had been broadly welcomed by players, despite fears from some Asian professionals that it could limit their playing opportunities.
He added that it would create a pathway to the world’s most prestigious events for players from Asia, and in the process create more elite players from the world’s most populous continent.
“What I can say very confidently is that no Asian professional is going to lose any opportunity,” Kerr said on the sidelines of the HSBC Golf Business Forum in Shanghai.
“We are going through a process of education with the players.
“The European players have embraced this almost 100 per cent. For the Asian players, I think it’s a much bigger change for them. There have been a lot of questions and a lot of concern, as you would imagine.
“Change in any industry, in life, is not something that is easily embraced. We have addressed their fears in the way we have structured the partnership.”
Kerr said he could not disclose details and they were still being negotiated.
“Asian players will continue to be able to ply their trade in Asia if they wish.
“But for those who want to progress, those that want to create a real career out of professional golf, what we have done is create a very clear pathway to get into some of the more established events in the world and then through to the majors, the WGCs and the cream of the elite tournaments.”