Panasonic will return as title sponsor of a new Y150 million (approximately US$1.27 million) professional golf tournament in Japan this April, with the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour co-sanctioned event aimed at boosting the Olympic aspirations of the region’s stars.
Organisers announced the Panasonic Open Golf Championship will be staged at the Chiba Country Club, Umesato course in Noda City, Chiba prefecture which is some 40km east of the capital city of Tokyo, from April 21 to 24, 2016.
As Panasonic is also a Worldwide Olympic Partner, an association which stretches back to over 25 years, Panasonic President, KazuhiroTsuga said it would be a dream come true if the inaugural champion of the Panasonic Open Golf Championship qualified for the Olympic Games in August.
“Panasonic is honoured and delighted to title sponsor the Panasonic Open Golf Championship following an agreement between our corporation, the Japan Golf Tour and Asian Tour.
“We have supported professional golf at the highest level in Asia for a long time, first with the Asia-Pacific Open Golf Championship Panasonic Open from 2008 till 2013 and then with the on-going Panasonic Open India,” said Tsuga.
“With the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro celebrating the return of golf following an absence of 112 years, we felt the timing was perfect for us to relaunch a new event in Japan which will contribute immensely towards a new era for golf in our region.
“Panasonic has enjoyed a very successful association with the Olympic Games over the last two decades and it will be wonderful if our 2016 Panasonic Open Golf Championship winner would go on to qualify for Rio de Janeiro through the world ranking points on offer at our tournament as the cut-off date for the Olympics is July 11, 2016.”
Japan Golf Tour Chairman Katsuji Ebisawa said it was looking forward to working closely with the Asian Tour.
The Panasonic Open Golf Championship will be one of four tournaments which will be co-sanctioned by both Tours in 2016, the highest ever since the Tours began collaborating in 2002.
“We are sincerely happy to announce the new tournament of 2016, the Panasonic Open to be hosted at the newly renovated Chiba Country Club, Umesato course under the co-sanction with Asian Tour who is one of the members of the Tour Federation.
“We are proud to be receiving the support of a global company such as Panasonic who is the leading company in the world after three years, and appreciate the occasion to be able to present the excellent skills of the top golfers of both Japan and Asia to the golf fans.
“I hope that this tournament will continue perpetually as one of the tournaments representing Asia,” said Ebisawa.
Asian Tour Commissioner Kyi Hla Han said: “Firstly, I would like to extend our appreciation to Panasonic for its support of professional golf in Asia. Panasonic already sponsors the Panasonic Open India on our Schedule and we look forward to returning to Japan for the Panasonic Open Golf Championship in April.
“The new tournament is a welcome addition to our 2016 Schedule as it will mean that players from both Tours will have another event to earn world ranking points to qualify for the Olympic Games.
“Furthermore, I am convinced golf fans in Japan will enjoy a fantastic week of top-class action and entertainment at the Chiba Country Club with the leading stars from Japan and Asia assembling to battle for the Panasonic Open Golf Championship title. I would like to thank the Japan Golf Tour for inviting the Asian Tour to co-sanction this new event which will be one of four co-sanctioned events with Japan this season. This is a fantastic development for the game in Asia.”