The EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM, a new match-play event between Europe and Asia, will be part of the initial sector of the 2014 European Tour Int'l Schedule, which was unveiled Monday. Taking place at Glenmarie Golf and Country Club in Malaysia from March 28-30, the EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM will be sanctioned by the European Tour and the Asian Tour, pitting 10 of Europe’s leading players against a 10-man team from Asia in a format similar to the Ryder Cup. It is one of two new events announced on the early part of the '14 int'l schedule, along with the Nedbank Golf Challenge, which takes place at the Gary Player Country Club in Sun City, South Africa, from Dec. 5-8. With a prize fund of $6.5M, the Nedbank Golf Challenge will be co-sanctioned with the Sunshine Tour and will feature a 30-player field (European Tour). The Scotland DAILY RECORD reported Europe "will select the leading four players available from the final Race to Dubai rankings" at the conclusion of the '13 season, "the leading four players available from the Official World Golf Ranking" on Feb. 3 and two captain's picks. The Asian team "will include the leading four available players from the final 2013 Asian Tour Order of Merit, the leading three players invited on the basis of their Official World Golf Ranking and three captain's picks" (DAILY RECORD, 8/26). The AFP reported Charlie Tingey, director of EurAsia Golf, an entity formed by the two tours to launch the competition, said that "it is hoped the tournament will 'catapult' more Asian golfers onto the world stage." Tingey brushed off concerns that the competition "could struggle to attract top European golfers due to its timing." It comes a month before the Masters in the U.S., "when many players stay closer to home to hone their game for that premier event." He said, "This is a tournament run by the tours. There is no perfect date. We do expect the full support of the players" (AFP, 8/26).
Events and Attractions
The National Rugby League "could be forced to stage an historic finals double-header at Allianz Stadium due to a potential scheduling clash" with the Austalian Football League in the first week of the play-offs, according to Adrian Proszenko of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. If the competition ladder remains as is, the Roosters, South Sydney, Canterbury and Cronulla "will host matches in week one of the NRL finals, which start a week later than the AFL play-offs." The Rabbitohs and Bulldogs "will earn the right to host games at ANZ Stadium," but the Saturday night timeslot "will be off limits." The most likely option left to league officials "is to play the two Saturday finals games back-to-back at Allianz Stadium." While doubleheaders have been played before -- most notably at the opening of ANZ Stadium and also on occasion at Suncorp Stadium -- "it would be a first for finals football." NRL Operations Manager Nathan McGuirk confirmed that "the league was looking at a range of contingency plans based on potential finals clashes." McGuirk said, "We're doing a lot of modeling on different scenarios right now and we're not ruling anything in or out" (SMH, 8/27).
DOUBLE DIP: In Melbourne, Jon Pierik wrote Melbourne Cricket Club CEO Stephen Gough said that the Melbourne Cricket Ground "would be capable" of hosting a doubleheader if the AFL opts to schedule four finals "at the famous venue" on the opening weekend of September. The AFL has asked Gough whether two finals on a Saturday could be scheduled, "with one beginning early afternoon and the second at night." There are likely to be four Victorian-based teams hosting a first final -- Geelong, Hawthorn, Collingwood and Richmond -- "and each has a large enough supporter base to insist its match be held at the MCG, rather than at the smaller Etihad Stadium." Gough said, "The question was asked: 'If it had to be, could it be done?' Well, subject to a whole lot of things which are very difficult, it's a possibility" (THE AGE, 8/27).
New Zealand Cricket has "beefed up the night cricket component in next summer's T20 domestic competition," according to David Leggat of the NEW ZEALAND HERALD. Buoyed by good returns from using the Friday night slot on Sky Sport, "NZC has scheduled HRV Cup T20 games on both Friday and Saturday nights in the first five weeks of the competition in November." Temporary lights will be used at University Oval in Dunedin and Christchurch's Hagley Oval, "which will host the opening game against Central Districts" on Nov. 1. Hamilton's Seddon Park "will host the preliminary and final" on Jan. 17 and 19 (NZ HERALD, 8/26).
Former NBA players Horace Grant, Ron Harper and Peja Stojakovic will participate in NBA Jam in India. The event will feature the largest 3-on-3 tournament ever held in India and include a national finals televised on India's NBA broadcast partner, SONY SIX. The traveling interactive basketball festival also includes concerts. Additionally, the Boston Celtics dance team will attend the Mumbai stop and the national finals. The NBA and SONY SIX announced plans for NBA Jam in July at a press conference in Mumbai (NBA).
Singapore "will play host to a range of movers and shakers as they plot the way forward for sport in Asia." On Sept. 18-19, the inaugural Sports Matters conference "will bring together a who's who in the business of sport." Keynote addresses by the likes of WTA Chair Stacey Allaster, World Sport Group COO Andrew Georgiou, as well as Singapore GP Exec Dir Michael Roche. Organizers "are also set to launch an Asian Sponsorship Association on Day Two, after sessions centering on TV and sponsorship matters" (ASIA ONE, 8/25). ... The National Rugby League "is desperately trying to fix [its] most embarrassing scheduling blunder of the year." The Parramatta Eels are scheduled to play the St. George Illawarra Dragons at the 83,000-seat ANZ Stadium. Officials are concerned the match "will be played in front of 75,000 empty seats" (Sydney DAILY TELEGRAPH, 8/27).