Gathering from all over the world… Changed status of the Asian Tour
The most important thing for professional golfers is prize money. Following are the tickets. Pro golfers do everything they can to get a ticket every year, as it is a qualification to take part in each tour and is like insurance for the future. Recently, there has been a rapid rise in participation all over the world. It is an Asian tour that has been newly established since last year, including 10 International Series tournaments with a total prize of $2 million.
As the number of tournaments and total prize money increased, more players showed interest in the Asian Tour. Even among Korean players, the value of Asian Tour tickets has increased. Some players even consider the schedule of the Asian Tour more important than the Korea Professional Golf (KPGA) Korean Tour and the Japan Professional Golf Tour (JGTO).
Until a few years ago, the Asian Tour was only the next best thing to consider when there were no competitions such as Korea, Japan, and DP World Tour. But now it is different. Since last year, the right to participate in the Asian Tour has become a fortune that any professional golfer wants to have. A player who has the right to participate in Korea, Japan, and the Asian Tour said, “Starting this year, more and more players are setting up a one-year schedule focusing on Asian Tour events.”
The driving force behind the transformation of the Asian Tour, which was not favored by Korean players because of the small prize money despite holding tournaments in Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore, was the support of Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund (PIF). Last year, the Asian Tour, which received a $300 million investment from LIV Golf Investment, of which PIF is the majority shareholder, laid the foundation for a leap forward as one of the world’s top three golf tours. The Asian Tour announced that the 2023 season will be the largest ever, including 10 International Series tournaments with a total prize money of $2 million and the GS Caltex Maekyung Open.
Players who thought the Asian Tour was a stage where it was difficult to earn money have completely changed. Since last year, more and more players are looking at the Asian Tour as a land of opportunity to earn money and improve the men’s golf world rankings. A player who has been active on the Asian Tour since last year said, “The tour atmosphere has completely changed since last year. The same is true for general competitions, not international series,” he explained. “In the past, players said that they had to be in the top 10 in the prize money rankings to support their families, but now they say that it is okay to be in the 30th place.”
The popularity of the Asian Tour can also be confirmed through the Qualifying School (Q School), a seed match that grants the right to participate. The number of applicants this year has increased significantly compared to previous years. It is noteworthy that Bae Sang-moon and Kim Min-hui, who were active on the American Professional Golf (PGA) tour, applied. What stands out the most is the Korean players. Forty-two Korean players participated in the final round of the Asia Tour Qualifying School held last month. It is the largest single country. Eight more Korean players than second-place Thailand competed in the final round of the Asian Tour Qualifying School. Including the first qualifying round, a total of 141 Korean players challenged to qualify for the Asian Tour. 안전놀이터
There were several times in 2013 and 2016 that more than 100 Korean players applied for the Asian Tour Qualifying School like this year. At that time, the Korean Tour was extremely undermined, and Korean players had no choice but to attend the Asian Tour Qualifying School to make a living. It’s different this time. As the number of Asian Tour events and prize money increased, Korean players voluntarily took on the challenge.
A player who challenged the Asian Tour Qualifying School this year said, “A few years ago, there were many players who thought that the Asian Tour Qualifying School participation fee was a waste, but not now.” We are putting all our efforts into securing the right to participate in the Asian Tour.”
Some players who did not qualify for the Asian Tour despite meeting the qualifications are regretting it. Players who placed their names in the top ranks at the GS Caltex Maekyung Open and the Kolon Korea Open, which are co-sponsored events of the Asian Tour held in Korea every year, were eligible to participate without having to go to the Asian Tour Qualifying School just by registering as members. However, it is known that some players did not receive the right to participate at this time.
One of the reasons why players are heading to the Asian Tour is that the men’s golf world ranking points are given to the winner by 5 or more points. Each tournament is different, but in the case of the Asian Tour International Series, in which some players from LIV Golf participate, the winner receives an average of 6 points. As the average points the winner of the Korean Tour receives is only 3 points, more and more Korean players are considering the Asian Tour as their main stage to improve their world rankings.