Asian Tour amends money rules to count Opens

SINGAPORE (AP) — Asian Tour regulars who earn prize money at the British Open or U.S. Open will be able to count it toward the tour's Order of Merit for the first time this season.

Asian Tour Executive Chairman Kyi Hla Han said that 50 percent of players' earnings from the British Open, U.S. Open or HSBC Masters in Shanghai will be included in the annual money race in a move that rewards high achievement outside the continent.

"The decision to count earnings won from these events is to recognize our players' efforts and to provide them with added incentive to excel on the world stage," Han said. "Over the years, Asian Tour members have shown the desire to achieve success internationally and we feel it is highly appropriate that they are rewarded and recognized for their good play."

Earnings from the US$5 million (3.45 million) HSBC Champions in Shanghai, co-sanctioned by the European, Asian, Australasian and South African tours, have not previously been included in the Asian Tour's money list since the inaugural tournament in 2005.

"The HSBC Champions has annually attracted world-class fields and over the years, our players have performed well against the internationals stars," Han said. "In 2006, South Korea's Yang Yong-eun defeated Tiger Woods for one of the most memorable triumphs for Asian golf and it wasn't recognized on our Order of Merit.

"Hence, we were compelled to change its criteria and importance in the Order of Merit race."

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