Golf: Merger talks to resume after Asian Tour appoints new board chairman

Mr Kyi Hla Han (above) said discussions over a merger with the European Tour were set to resume after Mr Jimmy Masrin was appointed chairman.
Mr Kyi Hla Han (above) said discussions over a merger with the European Tour were set to resume after Mr Jimmy Masrin was appointed chairman.PHOTO: PAUL LAKATOS/ASIAN TOUR

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - Asia's biggest golf tour said on Friday that it will resume talks over a merger with the European Tour that could change the face of world golf, and appointed Jimmy Masrin as chairman of the board.

The deal to merge the two Tour's business dealings and memberships to create a mega-event straddling the two continents appeared in jeopardy last month after chief executive Mike Kerr resigned, followed by a major shake-up of the board.

But interim Asia Tour commissioner Kyi Hla Han said the discussions were set to resume after Indonesian businessman Masrin was appointed as the new chairman, with immediate effect.

"The board also agreed to resume discussions with the European Tour following the recent announcement on a proposed partnership between the two Tours," Kyi Hla Han said in a brief statement.

The Asian Tour's management vowed to protect the interest of Asian players in the event of a merger, after some pros voiced fears they would be squeezed out of tournament spots by higher-ranked European rivals.

Deep divisions emerged at a meeting at the Macau Open in October - players who ply their trade on both tours seemed in favour, but some members of the Asian Tour were scared their opportunities to make a living could be eroded.

Last week, Europe demonstrated their matchplay superiority over Asia, claiming an emphatic 13-point victory in the EurAsia Cup in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur.