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Golf-Asian Tour hoping rest of the world is not forgotten in new landscape


SYDNEY (Reuters) – The Asian Tour is determined that the rest of the world outside of the United States and Europe is not forgotten when the dust settles on the merger between LIV Golf and the PGA and DP World Tours. Tuesday’s announcement that the world’s two biggest tours and the Saudi-backed circuit had ended two years of bitter conflict was accompanied by a statement that the new combined entity would “unify the game of golf, on a global basis”.

Commissioner Cho Minn Thant welcomed the deal on Wednesday and said it vindicated the Asian Tour’s decision to throw in their lot with LIV Golf last year to bankroll an expanded and more lucrative schedule.

While details of how the new entity will work in practice are thin on the ground, Thant said he hoped the more international outlook of the LIV circuit would be retained.

“What LIV has done is brought world-class players around the world,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald on Friday.

“It was massive in Adelaide, it was very big in Singapore and I’m sure it would be very big in other places like Hong Kong, Japan and Korea.

“We’re going to have to make sure international golf remains on the agenda and it doesn’t revert back to the way it was.”

Both the U.S-based PGA Tour and mainly European DP World Tour have co-sanctioned events in the Asia-Pacific over the last 20 years but the number of big name players were often limited and petered out almost entirely during the COVID pandemic.

LIV Golf brought the top players back to the region with packed, sold-out galleries welcoming them to Australia, in particular.

The Singapore-based Asian Tour has been through many ups and downs over its three decades of existence but Thant said he thought it deserved a voice in the discussions when the new landscape of the game was mapped out.

“The Asian Tour has done enough over the last two years to have a proper seat at the table and not just be passengers,” he added.

“We’re pretty confident we’re going to be relevant and have a seat at the table in these conversations. It would be a great shame if all the top players went back to playing in America.”

(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Peter Rutherford)

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