Asian Golf Sees Uncertain Future With Fewer Events, Sponsors
Rapid growth "has made Asia the big new destination for world golf, but there’s an unmistakable sense of gloom as long-standing events face an uncertain future and local talent stalls," according to the AFP. A "bitter turf war between two rival circuits, which has spooked sponsors and divided players, shows little sign of easing, and Asian golfers are making slow progress on the world stage," with just nine in the top 100. China is "developing at a glacial rate in competitive terms," with only three men among the world’s best 800. Traditional cornerstone events "are facing trouble." Prize money "at the venerable Hong Kong Open was slashed" to $2M, and organizers "went cap-in-hand for government funds to pay appearance fees for top players." The Singapore Open, touted as "Asia’s Major" and its oldest national open, lost title sponsor Barclays and is missing from next year’s European schedule, with its future date and backers still unclear (AFP, 12/19).