The European Tour has had Asian events in the calendar for years. Last season for instance they ducked out to Malaysia the week after the Masters, jumped to China the following week and on to Korea to complete the €6 million three week stint. It’s a Star Trek like odyssey that takes the Tour far from home and around the golfing galaxy in a quest for survival.
Throw in the heretofore unsanctioned Lake Malaren Masters in Shanghai (which I’ll come back to later), the World Cup in China in late November, and the last chance for Santy money in Hong Kong before Christmas and it’s easy to see where both the money and the burgeoning golf market is at.
Even though it’s far from our shores, you have to credit George O’Grady for doing a ‘Captain Picard’ in Star Trek, and seeking out new life, new golfing civilizations and boldy going where no Tour has gone before.
Okay it’s not very palatable for us to wake up on Sunday morning and switch on the telly at 7am only to watch the last putt of the tournament in China but Asia is where it’s at. If the European Tour hadn’t spread it’s tentacles beyond mainland Europe and into Africa and Asia, the reality is it would be a no more than a mere satellite of the PGA Tour or worse still, dead Jim.
But lest George O’Grady and his crew of this Enterprise think they own Asia, be warned, they are not alone. Arch nemesis PGA Tour overlord Tim Finchem of they Klingon Empire have decloaked and swooped in announcing that from 2013 the CIMB Classic held in Malaysia will become an Official Money Event on the PGA TOUR and be part of the FedEx Cup. But that’s not the best bit, the prize pot is expected to be $7 million to be played for by only 78 players. Set your phasers to be stunned at the news that prize money is the equivalent of approximately four European Tour events without even counting the complicated appearance money doled out to the likes of Tiger Woods who will front the event.
This first salvo in this war to end wars will be fired on October 25th when the PGA Tour will stage that CIMB Classic at the Mines Resort, while on the same day the European Tour will be at the €7 million BMW Masters at Lake Malaren in Shanghai which we mentioned earlier.
Set a course for the money galaxy, warp factor 10. Engage! And all the while we will be wondering will they ever come back home?