“This week will help us to finally begin the process of completing our season ‒ following the most difficult period in our history ‒ but more importantly it will mark the beginning of a whole new exciting journey,” said Cho.
“Not a single shot has been played on the Asian Tour since the final round of the Bandar Malaysian Open on March 7, 2020, and we have all faced nearly 19-months of uncertainty. However, although we now still face Covid-19 related battles, we find ourselves not only being able to restart but on the threshold of what will be our biggest and best decade.”
With the Tour entering into a mutually beneficial strategic partnership with the Greg Norman-led LIV Golf Investments, it will see a new series of 10 marquee events ‒ each boasting prizemoney of over US$1 million ‒ played each year beginning 2022 with the ambition of growing it over the next decade.
“The new partnership will allow for a period of recovery and stability followed by significant growth. The Tour always enjoyed a great reputation for being a hospitable place with a family-like atmosphere; our popularity with players and fans, and our diversity have been key to this. But we now plan to build on this and take things to a new level and further raise our profile which will have a huge impact on the game in general in our region and indeed beyond.”
The Blue Canyon Phuket Championship tees-off on Thursday, while the Laguna Phuket Championship will be staged the following week at Laguna Golf Phuket. Both events boast prizemoney of US$1million and will be followed by two events being planned in Singapore in January that will bring to a conclusion the 2020-21 season.
The 2022 season will then start with the US$5 million Saudi International powered by SoftBank Advisers to be played at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club from February 3-6.
“It’s no surprise that both events in Phuket have attracted a full quota of our best players ‒ all raring to go and all eyeing a top-30 finish on the Final Order of Merit to secure passage to the Saudi International. The schedule that we will provide now and moving forward is just reward for our members’ understanding, patience and support during the pandemic,” he said.
Cho also expressed his gratitude to the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, the Sports Authority of Thailand, related agencies and the people of Phuket for playing their part in allowing the Tour to restart.
Added Cho: “I would like to wish everyone the best of luck this week, whether you are competing or working at the events, and I thank all of you for playing an important part in our return.”