Golf: Sumitomo Mitsui bank inks three-year Singapore Open sponsorship

Rory McIlroy at the Singapore Open in 2012. Singapore's premier men's golf tournament will return this time next year with a new title sponsor and sanctioning partner. -- PHOTO: ST FILE
Rory McIlroy at the Singapore Open in 2012. Singapore's premier men's golf tournament will return this time next year with a new title sponsor and sanctioning partner. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

Singapore's premier men's golf tournament will return this time next year with a new title sponsor and sanctioning partner.

Japanese commercial bank Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) will headline the Singapore Open in a three-year deal, starting with a US$1 million (S$1.35 million) prize pot.

The Sentosa Golf Club's iconic Serapong course will once again stage the event from Jan 28 to 31 next year, with the Asian Tour and the Japan Golf Tour stepping in to co-sanction the full-field tournament.

Although the prize purse has shrunk from US$6 million in 2012, organisers have vowed to deliver several "big names" in the vein of past competitors such as Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott and Phil Mickelson.

"In no way is this tournament going to be a step down from what we had in the past - prize money is not the only determining factor in the stature and credibility of the event," said Patrick Feizal Joyce, vice-president (golf) at tournament promoter World Sport Group.

Once Asia's richest national Open, the 2012 edition drew a final-day crowd of more than 20,000, who witnessed young gun Matteo Manassero's play-off win over former British Open winner Louis Oosthuizen.

British bank Barclays chose not to extend its seven-year title sponsorship in December 2012, leading to a three-year hiatus.

nsanjay@sph.com.sg