Asian Tour prepares for September resumption
In what will be welcome news for the many Australians, who ply their trade across the region, the Asian Tour plans to resume its 2020 season in September based on the expected relaxations of social distancing measures over the upcoming months.
The decision for the Tour’s restart in September is also largely centered around international travel restrictions which can present a huge logistic challenge for many players living outside countries where tournaments are staged.
Asian Tour CEO – Cho Minn Thant (Credit: Asian Tour)
“We are targeting a conservative restart in September because of the current predicament with restrictions on air travel and large gatherings.
Unlike domestic markets, we understand international travel will slowly restart in phases and the ultimate lifting of quarantine periods will determine the Tour’s ability to resume full-scale operations,” said Asian Tour’s Commissioner and CEO, Cho Minn Thant.
The Shinhan Donghae Open is expected to be the first event to tee off since the global COVID-19 pandemic forced the season to be suspended in March. The tournament is scheduled for September 10-13 in South Korea with a purse of close to US$1.2 million.
Plans are in place for the season to continue onwards to Chinese Taipei and Japan for the Mercuries Taiwan Masters and Panasonic Open Golf Championship respectively.
Following that, discussions are already in place for an event in South East Asia before the Tour moves to India for what is targeted to be an ‘Indian Swing’ with the Panasonic Open India, the re-scheduled Hero Indian Open and a possible new event in Delhi.
“We are targeting between 10 to 12 events from September to December. There is a prospect of the Tour travelling to China and culminating with a stretch which includes the Hong Kong Open and Mauritius Open in the later part of the year.
During this period, if things go our way, there may also be a couple of new events that get added to the schedule.”
While dates for other events are still in discussions with promoters and key stakeholders, the Asian Tour remains very hopeful of recovering much of its season amid the rapidly evolving situation.
“We have been working diligently behind the scenes to rearrange the tournament schedule and ensure that we can play as much tournament golf as practically possible in the last four months of 2020. Our measured approach has been based on the constant changes that we face on a daily basis,” said Cho.
“With members of over 25 different nationalities residing across the globe, their ability to travel is very much dependent on the respective local government health and travel guidelines.
Taking into consideration the possibility of extended disruptions for some of its members, discussions are being held to determine the conclusion of the season and its transition into 2021.
“We anticipate that there may be some restrictions for travellers from certain countries when we resume. If this is the case, we will still start as planned with players who can travel and assess the impact and severity of the disadvantage for those who cannot.
“Once this information is established, we will make a call with regards to the conclusion of the season and the transition into the 2021 season. But at this time, we plan to extend our season into 2021, with the early events in 2021 also forming part of the current season,” said Cho.
Source – Asian Tour