NGAP, OneAsia to hold bigger PH Open
MANILA, Philippines - The National Golf Association of the Philippines, in partnership with OneAsia, is presenting a bigger, richer Philippine Open on Dec. 5-8 at the fabled Wack Wack East.
The NGAP and OneAsia, the newest tour destination for elite golfers in Asia-Pacific region, signed a memorandum of agreement yesterday for the inclusion of the Philippine Open under the OneAsia calendar for the next three years.
OneAsia has committed to field 25 of its top players and is close to striking a deal with the Japan Tour to be able to invite at least the same number of standouts to play in the 2014 Phl Open.
“We have developed a unique relationship with the Japan Tour and I would like to see it happen in the Philippines,” said OneAsia chairman and commissioner Sang Chun during the press launch at Wack Wack yesterday.
“The Philippine Open is steeped in history and is the oldest (national) championship in Asia,” Chun said.
The organizing NGAP has also opened the doors for at least 40 Filipino pros, allowing them to see action in a big-money tournament.
“We want our pros to be able to play against the very best in the region,” said NGAP president Tommy Manotoc, who was joined in the launch by Wack Wack president and NGAP director Philip Ella Juico, WW vice president Butch Campos, OneAsia media director David Fox, NGAP vice-president Caloy Coscoluella and NGAP junior golf development head Aurelio Montinola.
“This will be entirely a show run by the NGAP this year,” Manotoc added. “But for the next three years starting next year, the Open will be an event that will be co-sanctioned by the OneAsia and Japan Tours.”
“This is a wonderful initiative by the NGAP,” Fox said. “It just remains to be seen what the Asian Tour will do.”
OneAsia and the Asian Tour have been at odds ever since the formation of OneAsia in 2009, with the Asian Tour even sanctioning some of its players if they play in its rival tour.
That issue was resolved by a Singapore court, which asked the Asian Tour to return fines paid by the players. The Asian Tour did not contest the ruling, sending a signal that augurs well for Manotoc’s vision.
The Phl Open playdate also runs smack into the Hong Kong Open, an Asian Tour event co-sanctioned by the much-stronger European Tour, which will fill 75 percent of the field.
And with only 25 percent of Asian Tour regulars allowed to play there, Manotoc believes that the Phl Open will have Asian Tour talent in December.
“OneAsia believes that, bottomline, the more tournaments there are, the more opportunities we can give our players,” Chun said.