For almost over two decades, the Asian Tour has been looked at as a ‘stepping stone’ circuit for players from the US, Asia, Europe and Australasia.
In its latest US$200mn deal to support playing opportunities and prize funds over the next 10 years, the Asian Tour is finally ready to step out of the shadows and into the limelight. In a recent interview, Cho Minn Thant, the Asian Tour’s Commissioner and CEO, discussed the backing from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), via LIV Golf Investments, and the implications for the Tour.
Cho said: “We’ve been looking for a big-time investment like this for decades… and it’s finally here. Now we have got to do our best to harness it and grow the Asian Tour into what it can be, or should be.”
“I don’t think it’s going to happen overnight. Rome wasn’t built in a day. But we’re in a pretty good position now to accelerate our growth.”
“Doing a deal where 10 events come onto the schedule straight away and remain on our schedule for the next 10 years is massive. We can only build around that and build our product and grow from there.”
Controversially, the USPGA and European Tours have made it clear that they will not continue previous relationships with the Asian Tour and not co-sanction Asian Tour events.
The Asian Tour will continue to stage co-sanctioned events with the Korean PGA, Japan Golf Tour and wishes to have a few co-sanctioned events with the Australasian Tour too in future. With former Australian superstar Greg Norman currently the CEO of LIV Golf Investments, the tour should build on regional affiliations.
You can watch the full interview with Cho Minn Thant here to understand the future of the Asian Tour better –https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TtibzPmv0Po
Photo – AGIF