Merger talks to restart with new Asian Tour head

KUALA LUMPUR • Asia's biggest golf Tour said yesterday 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 Tours' 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 had vowed to protect the interest of Asian players in the event of a merger.

This comes after some professionals voiced fears that 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.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 23, 2016, with the headline 'Merger talks to restart with new Asian Tour head'. Print Edition | Subscribe