The Asian Tour has announced a strong Schedule for the second half of 2016 which includes the return of the King’s Cup in Thailand, Shinhan Donghae Open in Korea and total prize fund for the season in excess of US$52 million.
Asian Tour Commissioner Kyi Hla Han was delighted to welcome back the US750,000 King’s Cup and US$1 million Shinhan Donghae Open which will feature on the Schedule from July 28 to 31 and September 29 to October 2 respectively.
The King’s Cup was not played in 2015 while the Shinhan Donghae Open last featured on the Asian Tour Schedule in 2002, although the popular event has been a regular fixture on the domestic Korean circuit.
The announcements will boost the stature of the region’s premier Tour which launched and staged the inaugural Panasonic Open Golf Championship in Japan a fortnight ago and welcomed back the SMBC Singapore Open and LeoPalace21 Myanmar Open earlier in the season after lapses of several years.
The Asian Tour also returned to Australia for the first time since 2009 with the tri-sanctioned ISPS Handa Perth International in March.
From June till December, a total of 14 tournaments with US$36 million in prize money will feature on the Schedule. This includes the US$8 million World Cup of Golf in Australia and US$9.5 million WGC-HSBC Champions in China.
The Asian Tour has already staged and sanctioned nine tournaments from January till April, including the second edition of the EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM in Malaysia, and will next week tri-sanction the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open which raises the prize fund for the early sector to US$16.7 million.
Han anticipates further events joining the Schedule during the second half of the season. He said: “Our line-up for the second half of 2016 looks strong with events slated across the region. In addition, our players will also head beyond Asian borders to Switzerland and Australia for established tournaments through our partnership with the European Tour and also as a full member of the International Federation of PGA Tours.
“The Asian Tour looks certain to conclude a solid 2016 season with over US$52 million in prize money on offer to our players. This would see the Tour surpassing the high achievement of 2011 when the Tour offered US$50 million to our membership.”
Amongst the key highlights of the second half of 2016 include the Omega European Masters in Switzerland, which is the only co-sanctioned Asian Tour and European Tour tournament on European soil, the CIMB Classic in Malaysia which is jointly sanctioned with the PGA Tour, and WGC-HSBC Champions in China, Asia’s richest tournament and only World Golf Championships event in the region. The long-running Mercuries Taiwan Masters will also offer a record US$800,000 in prize money, a jump of US$150,000 from previously.
In regards to the proposed partnership between the Asian Tour and European Tour, Han said discussions were on-going. He said: “At the recent Masters Tournament, we had good meetings with the European Tour. Essentially, our Board of Director has made it a priority for us to enhance playing and earning opportunities for our members which we believe a partnership model can deliver.”
June to December Schedule:
June 30-July 3: Yeangder Tournament Players Championship, Linkou International GCC, Taipei, $500,000
July 28-31: King’s Cup, Phoenix Gold GCC, Pattaya, US$750,000
Sept 1-4: Omega European Masters, Crans-sur-Sierre GC, Crans Montana, €2.7 million (approx. US$3 million)
Sept 22-25: Asia Pacific Open Mitsubishi Diamond Cup, Ibaraki CC, West Course, ¥150 million (approx. US$1.3 million)
Sept 29-Oct 2: Mercuries Taiwan Masters, Taiwan GCC, US$800,000
Sept 29-Oct 2: Shinhan Donghae Open, Bears Best Cheongna GC, KRW1.2 billion (approx. US$1 million)
Oct 6-9: Indonesian Masters presented by Zurich, Royale Jakarta GC, US$750,000
Oct 13-16: Venetian Macao Open, Macau GCC, US$1 million
Oct 20-23: CIMB Classic, Kuala Lumpur GCC, US$6 million
Oct 27-30: WGC-HSBC Champions, Sheshan International GC, US$9.5 million
Nov 3-6: Panasonic Open India, Delhi GC, US$400,000
Nov 10-13: Resorts World Manila Masters, Manila Southwoods GCC, US$1 million
Nov 24-27: WGC World Cup of Golf, Kingston Heath Golf Club, Melbourne, US$8 million
Dec 8-11: UBS Hong Kong Open, Hong Kong GC, US$2