Asian Tour to co-sanction Euro Masters

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Omega European Masters 2007 LogoCRANS-SUR-SIERRE, Switzerland 'The European Masters will be co-sanctioned by the European and Asian Tours next year, the first golf tournament on European soil to be co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour.
 
The move, announced Friday, is a partial response to the development of the FedExCup on the PGA TOUR, which has cut into the quality of the field at the tournament this week.
 
The FedExCup is one of the constant challenges faced by all the tours and players. We are staking a claim to being an international tour, said Keith Waters, director of international policy for the European Tour.
 
Stephen Urquhart, president of longtime tournament sponsors Omega, added: The FedExCup has given us an excuse to do now what we wanted to do anyway.
 
The event has in the past attracted a high quality field, including former champions Nick Faldo, Seve Ballesteros, Colin Montgomerie, Lee Westwood and Ernie Els.
 
This year the top-ranked player in the field is No. 18 Miguel Angel Jimenez, the only member of Europes Ryder Cup team taking part.
 
Other players who have participated in recent years, like Sergio Garcia and Paul Casey, are playing in the FedExCup event or resting after playing other FedExCup tournaments.
 
We are excited about the emergence of golf as a truly global sport. We commend both the Asian and European Tours for implementing our proposal that the two tours join forces, Urquhart said. As the sport becomes increasingly popular in Asia, its the perfect time to be introducing the golfers playing there to the international stage.
 
There are already nine events co-sanctioned by the two tours, but all are in Asia.
 
At least 30 Asian players will compete in the event next year. The tournament is expected to be held at the same time in early September and will, as in recent times, be the first qualifying event for places on the 2010 European Ryder Cup team.
 
There are seven Asian players in this weeks event, three of whom have earned their playing rights in Europe and four of whom received special invitations.
 
Asian Tour Executive Chairman Kyi Hla Han said the move would give Asian players more exposure outside Asia and a chance to develop their careers on the international stage.
 
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