European and Asian tours in new 'joint vision for future'
By Tony Jimenez
LONDON (Reuters) - The European Tour and the Asian Tour, who first collaborated for a co-sanctioned event 16 years ago, have announced "an innovative joint vision for the future of professional golf".
In a joint statement released on Friday that was lacking in detail, they said it would "reinforce the current strengths of the two tours by maximizing global opportunities as well as increasing playing opportunities and prize funds for the respective memberships".
Both organizations are lagging behind the PGA Tour in terms of prize money and international gravitas and Friday's news may be an indication of Europe and Asia joining forces in an effort to provide a stronger challenge to the supremacy of their U.S. rivals.
Asian Tour chief executive Mike Kerr said closer ties with the European Tour "will greatly enhance the landscape of professional golf around the world and particularly in Asia.
"This initiative will ultimately create an inimitable platform that will enhance our appeal to sponsors, partners and golf fans around the world".
The 1999 Malaysian Open was the first of 92 co-sanctioned European and Asian tour events that have offered total prize money in excess of 160 million euros ($181.78 million).
($1 = 0.8802 euros)
(Editing by Pritha Sarkar)
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