Merger talks resume after Asian Tour appoint board chief

January 22, 2016 3:43 pm

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – The Asian Tour will resume negotiations with the European Tour over a proposed merger after appointing Jimmy Masrin as their board chairman on Friday.

The planned union, first announced in August, appeared in trouble last month when Asian Tour chief executive Mike Kerr resigned for unspecified reasons following player concerns about limited opportunities on the combined tour.

Last year’s Asian Tour featured only 12 standalone tournaments with many more co-sanctioned with larger circuits like the European, U.S. PGA and Japan Tours, who all boast fuller schedules and bigger prize money.

The Asian Tour said their newly re-structured board, which will be headed by Indonesian businessman Masrin, would work to ensure their players would benefit out of any merger with their larger counterparts.

“The board also agreed to resume discussions with the European Tour following the recent announcement on a proposed partnership between the two tours,” the Asian Tour said in a short statement following a board meeting in Malaysia last week.

“The board remains fully committed to protect and enhance the careers and playing opportunities of the Asian Tour players.”

The 2016 Asian Tour season kicks off next week with the Singapore Open, co-sanctioned with the Japan Golf Tour, who will also join up to stage the Myanmar Open the following week and the Panasonic Open in April.

Five of the other six confirmed Asian Tour events for 2016 will be co-sanctioned with the European Tour, with next month’s $300,000 Bangladesh Open their only stand alone tournament.

(Reporting by Patrick Johnston; Editing by John O’Brien)

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