Asian play­ers un­con­vinced over Euro­pean Tour merger

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

SHANG­HAI: Asian Tour mem­bers are yet to give the green light to the pro­posed merger with the Euro­pean Tour and will hold fur­ther meet­ings, se­nior play­ers told AFP yes­ter­day.

Asian Tour CEO Mike Kerr told AFP last week that the play­ers’ fears had been ad­dressed and con­cerns largely al­layed. “We are go­ing to part­ner to­gether. We are merg­ing the mem­ber­ship. We are merg­ing the busi­nesses,” Kerr said.

But two of Asia’s lead­ing play­ers, though broadly in favour, said it wasn’t a done deal yet and play­ers needed more de­tails be­fore they could vote. Thai­land’s Thongchai Jaidee said the play­ers had held a meet­ing at the Ma­cau Open last month af­ter the pro­posed cre­ation of a mega-tour strad­dling Europe and Asia.

“The main thing for me is that Asian play­ers have a chance to im­prove in the fu­ture,” the Thai world num­ber 32 told AFP dur­ing prac­tice for Thurs­day’s BMW Mas­ters at Lake Malaren in Shang­hai.

“For me it’s fine. Yes there was a meet­ing at the Ma­cau Open of the play­ers where we had a lot of talk­ing. A lot peo­ple are think­ing dif­fer­ent things that’s why we have to take more time and get more in­for­ma­tion. “The play­ers haven’t voted on it yet.”

50-50 split

World num­ber 40 Ki­radech Aphibarn­rat said the play­ers had been split at the Ma­cau meet­ing, but were now slowly com­ing round to ac­cept­ing the deal. “In Ma­cau the play­ers didn’t know the in­for­ma­tion about (the merger) so I can say 50 per­cent of the Asian play­ers on the tour were a lit­tle bit against,” Ki­radech said, while con­firm­ing that Kerr did ad­dress some of the is­sues. “Fi­nally when we were told what (the Asian Tour) were go­ing to do we be­lieved it.”

How­ever Thongchai said that play­ers would still need more con­vinc­ing. “We are wait­ing still for our con­cerns to be ad­dressed,” said the 45year-old, one of the el­der states­men of the Asian and Euro­pean Tours. “We are still wait­ing for the next meet­ing to con­firm or not. There will be one more meet­ing, maybe in Thai­land (next month) be­fore we make our de­ci­sion.” Ki­radech said so long as op­por­tu­ni­ties ex­isted for young Asian play­ers, he would be in favour.

“I’ve been think­ing over and over to the kid that’s start­ing out, like where I was when I started,” said the burly world num­ber 40. “I started from the Asian Tour, from small events I played full field, then I won co-sanc­tioned events and got to where I am. “If (the merger) hap­pens and all the kids can con­tinue to play on the tour then I think it’s the right way to make young stars.” Some play­ers have been re­ported as be­ing un­happy with the way that Kerr has ne­go­ti­ated with the Euro­pean Tour. Ki­radech is not one of them. “Some play­ers are not happy with Mike Kerr. Some play­ers are happy with Mike Kerr,” said Ki­radech. “For me he is the busi­ness man. He gets things done. He is a good guy.” — AFP

IN­CHEON: Pic­ture taken on Oc­to­ber 15, 2015 shows Park In-Bee of South Korea tee­ing off at the third hole dur­ing the first round of the LPGA KEB Hana Bank Cham­pi­onship golf event at the Sky72 Golf Club in In­cheon, west of Seoul. Other golfers beware. With an ul­tra-com­pet­i­tive do­mes­tic tour and a seem­ingly lim­it­less sup­ply of young, tal­ented play­ers will­ing to sac­ri­fice ev­ery­thing for suc­cess, South Korea’s dom­i­nance of world women’s golf is not go­ing away — and if any­thing, it could get even stronger. — AFP

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