ASIAN GOLF INDUSTRY FEDERATION

Asian Tour Raring to Go, Says Commissioner Cho

Picture by Paul Lakatos/Asian Tour.

Singapore: Players and officials of the Asian Tour are raring to resume tournament play. After an enforced 19-month lay-off due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Tour will return to action with the Blue Canyon Phuket Championship (November 25-28).

That will be followed by the Laguna Phuket Championship 2021 (December 2-5).

“I think excitement is probably an under-statement. Everyone’s itching to get back out there and just raring to go. It’s a relief to actually be able to stage events in 2021. We really didn’t want to go a full calendar year without playing,” said Cho Minn Thant, Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer of the Asian Tour.

In a video interview with the Asian Golf Industry Federation, Cho said: “Restarting the Tour with two US$1 million purses is really outstanding, in my opinion. Huge thanks to the Thailand Government, the province of Phuket and the organisers who have put it together.

“Fortunately the (Covid) restrictions are being eased so we don’t have to run as tight a bubble as we thought we would have. People can come into Phuket – players, service providers, staff and officials. They have to stay within a restricted area, but they don’t have to be restricted in a super tight bubble which would have seen us only allowed to go to the golf club and the hotel.

“From a mental health perspective it will be a lot easier on the players and everyone around the tournaments.”

Cho also expressed his confidence that back-to-back events will be held in Singapore in the second and third weeks of January, completing the Asian Tour’s 2020-21 season.

Cho said: “We’re waiting for the Singapore Government to give us the seal of approval but we’re fairly confident that we will get that.

“One of those two events is the SMBC Singapore Open and the other is a new event that we create. So, we’re looking forward to a double-header in Singapore.

“The Singapore Government has been quite proactive in allowing sports competitions to be staged in Singapore and there’s a growing list of countries on vaccinated travel lane arrangements and green lane arrangements. It looks like everything’s coming together.”

Cho conceded that the long lay-off has been ‘a very frustrating and difficult time for us’.

He said: “Our last event was played in March of 2020. It’s been 19 months between drinks. We had a lot of difficulty trying to stage tournaments with the various restrictions around Asia. There are lots of factors that prevented us from restarting the Tour earlier.”

*The full interview with Cho can be viewed by clicking here.

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