The Asian Tour announced today its 2011 Schedule with a provisional 25 tournaments which will travel throughout Asia and as far as Switzerland.
The solid calendar of elite tournaments is due largely to the support of major sponsors, event promoters and golf bodies across the region, said Kyi Hla Han, Executive Chairman, Asian Tour.
Han said the Schedule will be further boosted in the coming weeks as the Tour is in final negotiations with various sponsors and organisers for new tournaments.
Asia's elite players will shoot for a projected total prize fund in excess of US$45 million next year, the highest ever in the history of Asian golf. This will reinforce the Asian Tour as the third largest international Tour behind the PGA Tour and European Tour.
The recent announcement that the Asian Tour is forming a joint venture company with IMG Media in an initial 12-year agreement to manage all television production and global distribution from 2011 onwards has also been received positively in the golf industry, said Han.
Through the successful co-sanction programmes with the European Tour and Japan Golf Tour, Han believes that the Asian Tour will continue to provide a solid career pathway for players in Asia.
"We are delighted to announce our 2011 Schedule for our highly talented members. There will be further updates in the coming weeks as we are in advanced discussions with various parties for other tournaments to feature on our calendar," said Han.
"Through key alliances with our partners, we are moving forward at an exciting pace for the betterment of professional golf in Asia.
"Our new global television platform which takes the Asian Tour to major markets across Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Australia via broadcasters such as SkySports, CCTV, FoxSports and Viasat has broadened the unique appeal of the Asian Tour and will continue to provide the thrust for growth.
"Our players will continue to enjoy a wealth of playing opportunities with direct access as well to international events including the World Golf Championships and the British Open through our status as a full member of the International Federation of PGA Tours."
The Asian Tour season will begin with the all-important Qualifying School in Thailand in January with the top-40 finishers at the Final Stage earning Tour cards.
Han said the success of this season's Q-school graduates Sweden's Rikard Karlberg, South Africa's Peter Karmis and former graduates Siddikur of Bangladesh and Thailand's Pariya Junhasavasdikul are clear examples of players enjoying the opportunity to establish themselves in the game.
"The four players won titles for the first time on the Asian Tour this year after going through the Qualifying School process and now, they have access to all the major tournaments on our Schedule," said Han.
"They have played well in the full field Asian Tour events and are now enjoying the benefits of their winner's status. Rikard Karlberg, Siddikur and Pariya Junhasavasdikul are all ranked in the top-10 of the Order of Merit which shows we have a solid and viable platform to enhance the careers of our members."
2011 ASIAN TOUR SCHEDULE
Jan 13-16: Qualifying School First Stage, Imperial Lake GC & Majestic Creek GR, Hua Hin, Thailand.
Jan 20-23: Qualifying School Final Stage, presented by Sports Authority of Thailand, Imperial Lakeview & Springfield Royal CC, Hua Hin.
Feb 10-13: Myanmar Open, Pun Hlaing GC, Yangon, US$300,000.
Feb 17-20: Avantha Masters, DLF GCC, New Delhi, €1.8 million (approx: US$2.3 million).
Mar 22-25: SAIL Open, Delhi GC, India, US$300,000.
Apr 14-17: Maybank Malaysian Open, KL GCC, Kuala Lumpur, US$2.5 million.
Apr 21-24: OSK Masters, Damai Laut CC, Lumut, Malaysia, US$300,000.
Apr 28-May 1: Ballantine's Championships, Blackstone Resort, Seoul, €2.2 million (approx US$2.8 million).
May 5-8: Philippine Open, Wack Wack GCC, Manila, US$300,000.
June 23-26: Queen's Cup, Santiburi Samui CC, Samui, Thailand, US$300,000.
July 21-24: Brunei Open, Empire Resort and CC, Bandar Seri Begawan, US$300,000.
July 28-31: Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters, Seri Selangor GC, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, US$300,000.
Aug 4-7: Omega Mission Hills World Cup Qualifying – Asia, Venue TBA.
Sep 1-4: Omega European Masters, Crans-sur-Sierre GC, Crans, Switzerland, €2 million (Approx US$2.6).
Sept 8-11: Handa Singapore Classic, Orchid CC, Singapore, US$400,000.
Sept 22-25: Asia Pacific Panasonic Open, Venue TBA, Japan, ¥150 million (Approx. US$1.7 million).
Sept 29-Oct 2: Indonesia President Invitational, Venue TBA, US$400,000.
Oct 6-9: Yeangder Tournament Players Championship, Linkou International GCC, Taipei, US$300,000.
Oct 27-30: CIMB Asia Pacific Classic, Malaysia, The Mines Resort and GC, Kuala Lumpur, US$6 million.
Nov 3-6: WGC HSBC Champions, Venue TBA, China, US$7 million.
Nov 3-6: Mercuries Taiwan Masters, Taiwan GCC, Taipei, US$500,000.
Nov 10-13: Barclays Singapore Open, Sentosa GC, Singapore, US$6 million.
Nov 17-20: Iskandar Johor Open, Venue TBA, Johor Bahru, Malaysia, Prize Money TBA.
Nov 24-27: Omega Mission Hills World Cup, Mission Hills Resort, Hainan, China, US$6 million.
Nov 24-27: Johnnie Walker Cambodian Open, Phokeethra CC, Siem Reap, US$300,000.
Dec 1-4: UBS Hong Kong Open, Hong Kong GC, Hong Kong, US$2.5 million.
Dec 8-11: King's Cup, Venue TBA, Thailand, US$300,000.
Dec 15-18: Tour Championship, Venue TBA.