Asian turf war goes quiet as OneAsia fizzles

Fri Dec 12, 2014 2:11am EST
 
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By Andrew Both

(Reuters) - An Asian golf turf war seems to have fizzled out nearly six years after the launch of a second professional tour that threatened the very existence of the region's more established circuit.

The OneAsia Tour was initiated in 2009 with the stated goal of quickly growing to 35 tournaments, each with a minimum purse of $1 million.

The circuit, backed by sports marketing agency World Sports Group, was perceived by the Asian Tour as a direct threat, so much so that chairman Kyi Hla Han said he was "appalled" by what he considered to be an invasion of his tour's territory.

OneAsia, however, never really bloomed, unable to get near to its stated goal of 35 events and staged just seven tournaments in Asia this year.

These days, Han does not consider OneAsia a threat, though he acknowledges that the past few years had not been ideal for his tour or golf in the region.

"What they (OneAsia) predicted hasn't happened, so I don't see it as much of a threat but it's not healthy for the game of golf," he told Reuters, his previously fiery rhetoric giving way to more measured language.

"About six-to-eight of our tournaments we felt were taken away by force. There's still a little bit of confusion. It's not healthy but we're going to just concentrate on our own business and I feel we've got our own structure right."

Professional golf in Asia remains fragmented. While the Asian Tour seems to have weathered the storm and rebounded reasonably well, many of its events offer relatively small $300,000 purses, a pittance by international standards.   Continued...