Professional golf resumes in Asia this week, after a 20-month hiatus due to the pandemic, with the Blue Canyon Championship, worth one million dollars, on the island of Phuket (Thailand).
The tournament marks the resumption of the Asian Tour 2020, Asia’s professional golf circuit, which was put on hiatus following the Malaysia Open in March 2020, as countries closed their borders in an attempt to curb the Covid-19 pandemic.
When the players leave the palm-fringed Blue Canyon course on Thursday, Australia’s Wade Ormsby will try to extend his lead at the top of the overall standings.
Six-time Tour winner and defending champion of Thailand, Jazz Janewattananond hopes to benefit from home advantage and make an impact in the shortened season.
“This week will help us finally begin the process of completing our season after the most difficult period in our history.“said Asian Tour boss Cho Minn Thant.
Following this week’s Blue Canyon, Tour players will stay in Phuket for the Laguna Phuket Championship next week, followed by two more tournaments in Singapore in January.
All these events will be held in sanitary “bubbles” and players must be fully vaccinated to participate.
Thailand has dropped its strict quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated visitors, allowing the Tour to hold the two consecutive tournaments in Phuket.
The 2022 season will officially begin in February with Saudi International, $ 5 million, which is not part of the new 10-tournament series funded by LIV Golf Investments, led by legend Greg Norman.
Norman is not taking over the tour and the priority is completing the 2020 season, Cho Minn Thant said.
The company is majority owned by the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund, one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds, which is behind Newcastle’s recent acquisition in the English soccer championship.
The Gulf kingdom’s entry into sport has sparked accusations of “sports washing,” that is, of buying positive publicity to divert attention from Saudi Arabia’s human rights record.
The new partnership will help the Asian Tour stabilize and recover from the impact of Covid, Cho said.