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ASIAN TOUR LEFT FUMING

By Mark Garrod, PA Sport Golf Correspondent

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For the second time in a month the European Tour have angered their Asian counterparts by announcing a new event without co-sanctioning it with them.

Three weeks after learning they were going to India for the first time early next year, Europe's players can now also make plans for the �3million Ballantine's Championship in South Korea on March 13-16.

Agreement has been reached between the European Tour and the Korea Professional Golfers' Association, but so upset are the Asian Tour that they are planning to raise the matter during the Open Championship in two weeks' time during the meeting of the International Federation of PGA Tours.

Executive chairman Kyi-Hla Han said in a statement: "The European Tour continues to proceed on its expansion programme to colonise Asia with the announcement of a Korean event today without the official involvement of the Asian Tour.

"This represents the European Tour's blatant disregard towards the Asian Tour, which is the official regional sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia.

"This invasive action clearly goes against the principles of the International Federation of PGA Tours, whose main goals are to promote co-operation between Tours through the joint-sanctioning of significant competitions.

"The Asian Tour will table a motion at the next meeting of the International Federation of PGA Tours. This will reflect our serious concerns as we feel that the European Tour has stepped out of its boundary.

"While we fully welcome the creation of new tournaments in Asia, the Asian Tour is totally aghast at the European Tour's actions in not following protocol and respecting our position as the governing body for professional golf in Asia.

"Last month the European Tour announced a new Indian event to take place in New Delhi in 2008 without the involvement of the Asian Tour and subsequently the Asian Tour engaged the European Tour in discussions to seek an acceptable solution to this Indian tournament as well as the Korean event.

"However, these discussions proved futile as the European Tour are clearly dictating terms without giving consideration towards the Asian Tour's efforts to promote golf in the Asian region."

George O'Grady, chief executive of the European Tour, said Korea "is an exciting new territory for the European Tour which meets with our policy to grow the game worldwide."

Seoung-Ghee Wook, the Korea PGA vice-chairman, commented: "I am very pleased that this official European Tour event is being held for the first time in Korea.

"The Ballantine's Championship will make a huge contribution to the continuing development of Korean professional golf and will help build a close relationship between Korea and the European Tour."

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