Aussie golfers win Asian Tour court case

Two journeymen Australian professionals scored one of their biggest victories last week – and they didn’t pick up a club to do it.

Actually it was not being able to pick up a club and compete on the Asian Tour which was the reason Matthew Griffin and Terry Pilkadaris, along with Malaysian Anis Hassan and Dutchman Guido van der Valk ended up in court.

Matt Griffin Matt Griffin (Credit: Anthony Powter)

The four were originally fined and banned from competing on the Asian Tour because they had taken part in ‘rival’ tour OneAsia Tour events.

They regarded it as restraint of trade and took the matter to the courts before winning a year-long battle in the Singapore High Court, which directed the Asian Tour pay back fines and legal fees, while the players’ lawyer said would consider also claiming for damages as compensation for potential earnings lost.

“It’s great to get this judgment in our favour. All we ever wanted from this action was the right to play golf wherever we had earned the right,” said Griffin.

“Hopefully this decision will be a good result for all golfers playing within the Asian region and open up more opportunities for the game.”

Pilkadaris said he was “delighted” with the ruling, pointing out it was unfair for the Asian Tour to bar players from OneAsia events even when the circuits’ schedules were not in direct conflict.

“Obviously I am thrilled,” said Pilkadaris.

“We thought we were within our rights on this and I’d like to thank our lawyers for arguing our case so well.

“This situation was simply unfair. Even when the Asian Tour didn’t have a tournament, we were being prevented from playing on OneAsia – and as a professional golfer this clearly is an infringement of trade.”

The CEO of the PGA of Australia Brian Thorburn agreed, applauding the court’s ruling.

“Playing opportunities in Asia are integral to the development of our Tournament Members, and I applaud their perseverance,” Thorburn said.

“This ruling will assist the ongoing growth of golf in the region, and will ensure Asia remains an attractive and accessible playing pathway for both our current and future tournament members.”