Asian Tour expects more spots in expanded CIMB Classic field


When the PGA Tour's revamped schedule begins in the fall of 2013, the CIMB Classic will be included as a full-fledged tournament, expected to be the third event of the new 2013-2014 FedEx Cup season.

Currently, the event in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, is co-sanctioned by the PGA and Asian Tours and its 48-player field includes 10 players from the Asian Tour as well as two from the PGA Tour of Malaysia. As part of next year's transition, prize money will increase from $6.1 million to $7 million and the field will grow to include 78 players. Executives from the Asian Tour hope to increase their participation accordingly, but the PGA Tour appears to have a different plan in mind.

'The eligibility next year is going to be 60 PGA Tour players off our FedEx Cup list and then it will be 10 Asian players off their order of merit and then eight sponsor exemptions,' explained Ed Moorhouse, co-chief operating officer of the PGA Tour.

The comments this week were met with surprise from representatives of the Asian Tour.

'As of now, nothing has been agreed on this matter,' said Asian Tour executive Kyi Hla Han. 'But with the field increasing from 48 to 78 players next year, we expect the Asian Tour's allocation of players to increase proportionately.

'As a sanctioning partner of the CIMB Classic, we expect the new field breakdown to be reflective of our status in the tournament.'

The Asian Tour has scheduled meetings in the coming days to discuss next year's field breakdown. Moorhouse, meanwhile, emphasized a strong relationship with their counterparts at the Asian Tour and quickly shot down the notion of an all-American field in the future.

'We think it is not only appropriate but good that there are a minimum of Asian Tour players here and we are anxious to see them perform against top-notch PGA Tour players,' Moorhouse noted. 'Some of them perform very well. I think it is an interesting element and something we would want to keep.'