Singapore: Players and fans can expect to see a multitude of changes on and off the course when Asian Tour events resume in September.
“Between now and September there’s a likelihood of a lot of positive changes and we’re looking forward to returning. The key is to be adaptable and do what we can to stay safe when we get out there,”said Cho Min Thant, Chief Executive Officer and Commissioner of the Asian Tour, a Full Business Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation.
Limiting the amount of staff that travel to tournaments and introducing rule changes are among the challenges that Cho discussed in a Webinar hosted by LinksAsia.
Taking a leaf from some of the rules changes being recommended by The R&A, Cho said: “We could very well see flagsticks having to stay in, people keeping their own score and not switching scorecards with their fellow competitors. We might see players not having foreign caddies. We might not be able to travel with our normal companion or caddie and might have to use club caddies.”
According to Cho, other ‘luxuries’ which players have become accustomed to, such as a travelling physiotherapy service, will likely have to be shelved in the short-term.
Another certainty is that the number of staff attending tournaments will be severely cut.
“It’s about 150 people that normally travel to any given tournament so we might have to look at reducing those for the time being,” said Cho, citing television crews and media representatives among those who will have to carry out their work off-line with the setting up of production facilities in Hong Kong or Singapore and the implementation of virtual media centres.
He said: “We’ve already tested the technology (for television production) and we’re just about ready to go live with just the essentials on site – the cameramen, one director and that’s about it. The rest will sit in the studio, wherever that might be, where we produce the telecast. There’s a one-minute delay and then it goes out to the world’s satellites. That reduces the 80-strong television crew to about a dozen.
“We’re also looking at virtual media centres. It could very simply be done where we have a player come into a room after his round and he speaks into a camera with 20 or so press across the world asking questions.”