A group of four golfers turned the tables on the Asian Tour this week when a court in Singapore upheld the lawsuit they filed against the organization on the grounds of restraint of trade.
Matthew Griffin, Terry Pilkadaris, Guido van der Valk and Anis Helmi Hassan were all formerly members of the Asian Tour. When they opted to play in events on the rival OneAsia circuit in 2010, they were each fined $5,000 – even though the Asian Tour did not stage an event during the weeks in question – and consequently suspended when they each refused to pay the fine.
'This situation was simply unfair. Even when the Asian Tour didn't have a tournament, we were being prevented from playing on OneAsia,' Pilkadaris explained in a statement. 'As a professional golfer, this is clearly an infringement of trade.'
The presiding judge agreed with the plaintiffs, writing that the Asian Tour's restrictions were 'unenforceable and and void for being an unreasonable restraint of trade.' The Tour was ordered to repay the fines to players, as well as their costs according to the report.
While the Asian Tour has encouraged its members to participate in events on the PGA and European tours, it appeared concerned by the growth of OneAsia, which formed in 2009, and had accused the circuit of stealing events, according to the report. The fines and suspensions were enacted as a deterrent, and the Tour noted that other members had previously agreed to pay the fines and gone on to play in rival events.