Asian Tour ThrowdownThis week marks the third season opener of the OneAsia Tour, which has offered unparalleled (for the region) purses and may or may not undermine the larger, older Asian Tour. As Reuters' Patrick Johnson explains, there's a turf war in progress, and the biggest shots are probably yet to be fired.
Since OneAsia began with five tournaments in 2009, Asian Tour officials have accused the organization of stealing their events, bringing down their tour and being bankrolled by a sports management company.
OneAsia have promised to have $1 million prize money for each of their events as they attempt to offer Asian players a platform to compete in their home region rather than be forced to play on more lucrative tours overseas…
The Asian Tour, led by former Myanmar professional Kyi Hla Han, have also built a successful product of 25 events for 2011 offering $45 million in prize money as they promote themselves as a tour run by players for the players.
While OneAsia insists it is not trying to compete with (much less sink) the Asian Tour, the two bodies continue to bump heads:
[T]he spat did involve players when the Asian Tour fined and suspended five of its members who played in a OneAsia event last year.
Johnson's piece provides a great back and forth between the two respective Tour heads, so you should read through it. For the most part, the spat hasn't been much to talk about on this side of the Pacific, but it's definitely turning some heads now: If there's one thing everybody knows, it's that you never start a turf war in Asia. The (Big) Easy Way to Speed UpSlow play is one of the few truly universal problems in golf–from the Tour pro to the weekend duffer, everyone hates that moment when he gets to the next tee and sees a roadblock. According to Jon Levy at the Golf Channel, Ernie Els offered a little insight into how he thinks the PGA Tour can tamp down the sleepy menace:
Among the highlights, he’d allow range finding devices in tournaments, cut down the size of tournament fields and prompt PGA Tour officials to "officiate play more" meaning he wishes officials would follow through in assessing penalties instead of warning and threatening.
He wasn’t quick to jump on the bandwagon that penalizing players is the ultimate answer, rather that penalizing the "right guy," instead of making an example out of a player or two, would be a great start.
I'm with Ernie on smaller fields and the idea of having Tour officials actually assess warranted penalties (because players have clearly lost their fear of that happening), but I don't think I can get behind Tour players using rangefinders. It would definitely speed up the pace of play, but forcing players and caddies to gauge their own distances rewards good preparation. Plus, it would be just one more step on the path to replacing our caddie population with machines. Overreacting you say? It's already started! Tweet Battle of the DayRickie Fowler and Bubba Watson have been having some good old fashioned Wooly Willy-style fun with each other's TGC "Game On" promos this morning.