The European Tour and the Asian Tour have today announced an innovative joint vision for the future of professional golf.
The vision will see the business element and the Membership portfolios of both Tours combine, reinforcing the current strengths of the two Tours by maximising global opportunities, as well as increasing playing opportunities and prize funds for the respective Memberships.
Both organisations will now enter into an exclusive discussion period, working through the key points with their respective Boards, Tournament Committees and Memberships. Further information about the specific details will be announced in due course.
Keith Pelley, Chief Executive Officer of The European Tour, said: “We have enjoyed a wonderful relationship with the Asian Tour for many years and today’s announcement is the first step in the next stage of that partnership.
“I am excited about the prospect of what is to come and the opportunity that this announcement presents. Over the next few months we will work through, with our membership, all the specific details of what I believe will ultimately provide significant benefit to them.”
Mike Kerr, Chief Executive Officer of the Asian Tour, said: “We are very pleased to announce the consolidation of our partnership with The European Tour which will greatly enhance the landscape of professional golf around the world, and particularly in Asia. This will benefit both memberships in creating greater playing and earning opportunities while also establishing a defined career pathway for all players.
“By combining strength with strength, we will ensure that professional golf in Asia will continue to enjoy sustained growth in the long-term; plus deliver a stronger platform for our members to excel. This initiative will ultimately create an inimitable platform that will enhance our appeal to sponsors, partners and golf fans around the world.”
The agreement is the natural extension in the existing partnership between the two Tours which stretches back to February 1999 when the first co-sanctioned tournament – the Malaysian Open – was staged at Saujana Golf and Country Club in Kuala Lumpur.
Since then there have been 92 co-sanctioned events offering considerable playing opportunities for Members of both Tours with total prize money in excess of €160 million.
High profile winners from both Tours have tasted tournament victories during this period including seven Asian Tour Order of Merit winners – Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Arjun Atwal, Thongchai Jaidee, David Lipsky, Jeev Milkha Singh, Thaworn Wiratchant and Liang Wen-chong – and seven European Tour Major Champions; Darren Clarke, Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, Padraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell, José Maria Olazábal, and the reigning European Number One Rory McIlroy.