Asia scaling new peak in the Alps

Asian golf will scale a new peak at the Omega European Masters – just weeks after celebrating YE Yang’s historic triumph.

Asian golf will scale a new peak at this week’s Omega European Masters in Switzerland – just weeks after celebrating YE Yang’s history-making triumph at the PGA Championship where he became the first Asian male ever to win a major.

The €2 million (US$2.8 million) event will become the first co-sanctioned tournament between the European and Asian Tours to be staged on European soil and the region’s leading stars are gathering right now at the stunning Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club located in the Swiss Alps to take on Europe’s finest.

“This week will mark another wonderful milestone for the Asian Tour,” said the Tour’s Executive Chairman Kyi Hla Han.

“The Omega European Masters represents a significant development for the growth of the game and also signifies the giant strides that the Asian Tour has taken over the past few years.

“We want to express our gratitude to Omega and the European Tour for inviting us to be a part of this prestigious event.

“This week’s event is also the first step forward for the Asian and European Tours as we recently announced a new alliance to further grow the game internationally.

“We believe this will benefit our players and the game in Asia. This collaboration will enhance the game of golf through greater competition and wider exposure for our sponsors.”

India’s Jeev Milkha Singh and Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee, the reigning and current Asian Tour Order of Merit number ones respectively, will spearhead Asia’s challenge at the Omega European Masters.

Three weeks after Korea’s Yang Yong-eun claimed an historic triumph over Tiger Woods in the US PGA Championship, Han said Asian golfers will be looking to follow up on Yang’s exploits.

“We believe there are many more talented Asian Tour stars who have the ability, potential and desire to become Major champions in the near future,” said Han.

“All our top players are gathered at the Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club and they will be inspired by Yang’s victory over Tiger.

“He did not cower at the challenge of upsetting the odds and there is growing confidence now that Asian Tour players will want to climb new peaks.

“It will be tremendous if one of our players write another small slice of history this week by becoming the first player to win the Omega European Masters. It would be another terrific achievement for the Asian Tour and it’s certainly within our grasp.”

Singapore’s Lam Chih Bing, who is also the chairman of the Tournament Players Committee, said the Asian Tour players were looking forward to competing at the Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club. “This is such a big step for the Asian Tour. It shows how strong the Asian Tour is and the appeal that we have with international sponsors. The Omega European Masters is a big tournament and I’m sure all our players will be out to perform well.”

Indian star Gaurav Ghei added that the first co-sanctioned event in Europe will provide new opportunities for the region’s rising stars and hopes that other events will follow suit.

“It’s obviously a great opportunity for the Asian players to make a mark in Europe. We have established stars like Jeev, Thongchai and Chapchai who won co-sanctioned events in Asia.

“It’ll be a great opportunity for the other guys to show their skills and talent,” said Ghei.