WITH the vision of uniting the major golf tours in Asia in mind, the National Golf Association of the Philippines will be holding the Philippine Open in December with players from the Asian, One Asia and Japan Tours seeing action.
One Asia has committed to enlisting 25 of its top players and is close to striking a deal with the Japan Tour to be able to invite at least the same number of standouts from there to play in the Dec. 5-8 event at fabled Wack Wack East.
“We have developed a unique relationship with the Japan Tour and I would like to see it happen in the Philippines,” Sang Chun, One Asia’s chairman and commissioner, said during the press launch of the event at Wack Wack yesterday.
“The Philippine Open is steeped in history and is the oldest (national) championship in Asia,” Chun said.
Chun will be flying to Japan tomorrow armed with a memorandum of agreement with the NGAP for the next three years. The 2014 playdate of the Open will then be held either in March of April so that it is off-season in Japan.
The organizing NGAP has also opened the doors for at least 40 Filipino pros, allowing them to see action in a big-money tournament.
“We want our pros to be able to play against the very best in the region,” NGAP president Tommy Manotoc, who was also joined in the launch by Wack Wack president and NGAP director Philip Ella Juico, WW VP Butch Campos, One Asia media director David Fox, NGAP vice-president Caloy Coscoluella and NGAP junior golf development head Aurelio Montinola, said.
“This will be entirely a show run by the NGAP this year,” Manotoc added. “But for the next three years starting next year, the Open will be an event that will be co-sanctioned by the One Asia and Japan Tours.”
“This is a wonderful initiative by the NGAP,” Fox said. “It just remains to be seen what the Asian Tour will do.”
One Asia and the Asian Tour have been at odds ever since the formation of One Asia in 2009, with the Asian Tour even sanctioning some of its players if they play in its rival tour.
That issue was resolved by a Singapore court, which asked the Asian Tour to return fines paid by the players. The Asian Tour did not contest the ruling, sending a signal that augurs well for Manotoc’s vision.
The PH Open playdate also runs smack into the Hong Open, an Asian Tour event co-sanctioned by the much-stronger European Tour, which will fill 75% of the field.
And with only 25% of Asian Tour regulars allowed to play there, Manotoc believes that the PH Open will have Asian Tour talent in December.
“One Asia believes that, bottomline, the more tournaments there are, the more opportunities we can give our players,” Chun said.