It’s no secret why the European Tour made a conscious effort two decades ago to expand its schedule outside continental Europe. New sponsorship dollars were hard to get and countries such as the United Arab Emirates and Thailand were begging for high-profile pro golf tournaments.
Since the inaugural Dubai Desert Classic in 1989 and the 1992 Johnnie Walker Classic in Bangkok, Asia has been a second home to the Euro Tour.
Fast forward two decades and the mission to grow the game globally continues – and has expanded into a more-organized strategy with the creation of EurAsia Golf, a joint promotional vehicle between the Asian Tour and European Tour.
Established in 2009, EurAsia Golf is designed to invigorate the game internationally by fortifying existing co-sanctioned tournaments and generating new events.
Recently, EurAsia appointed Charlie Tingey as senior director.
His job: Bring in sponsorship dollars and manage relationships among promoters.
Tingey also will coordinate with golf federations in the Southeast Asia region and assist the EurAsia Golf board of directors in charting the overall strategic direction for the alliance.
The Englishman, who is based out of Kuala Lumpur, recently spoke with Golf360.
Golf360: What are some EurAsia successes over the last couple of years?
Tingey: The 2010 UBS Hong Kong Open was the first event that EurAsia Golf promoted since it was established in July 2009. It was also the first time that EurAsia Golf has promoted an event in Asia. . . . EurAsia Golf was also instrumental in renewing the sponsorship for the Maybank Malaysia Open and Ballantine’s Championship.
What tournaments has EurAsia help create?
A significant amount of time (has been) spent establishing the overall operational aspects of the alliance. Now that much of it is in place, I’m working towards securing sponsorship and new events for EurAsia Golf.
What are the challenges in securing sponsorship dollars in this economic climate?
Actually, professional golf tournaments have long been the attraction for the corporate sponsorship dollar. As a quality sport, it offers good branding and is played by top executives and management. In view of the economic climate, EurAsia Golf will enable us to focus our attention on golf as the preferred sponsorship vehicle for international companies.
What is EurAsia’s role in co-sanctioned tournaments that were established long ago?
EurAsia Golf, with representatives from both tours serving on the board of directors, will be the point of contact for tournament promoters for all existing and new co-sanctioned tournaments. The two tours will work closely together in the best interest of both memberships while retaining their individual identities. It has to be noted that EurAsia Golf was born out of a 10-year working relationship between the Asian Tour and European Tour which stretches back to our first co-sanctioned tournament in 1999. EurAsia Golf is ideally positioned not only to exploit and enhance the product across the two continents but also to be easily accessible to international companies looking to develop their own individual strategies in both areas.
With the greater friction between OneAsia and the Asian Tour and scheduling, what is your organization doing to curb anxiety that Asian golf will be splintered and less relevant?
Asian golf will not be splintered and it will continue to stay relevant especially with the establishment of EurAsia Golf. The Asian Tour and the European Tour have established a formidable partnership. . . . There have now been over 60 co-sanctioned tournaments with prize money averaging approximately U.S. $2 million in each tournament across Hong Kong, India, Korea, Malaysia, Switzerland and Singapore. In addition, the Asian Tour has already released its 2011 schedule with a provisional 26 tournaments that will travel throughout Asia and as far as Switzerland. The solid calendar of elite tournaments is due largely to the support of major sponsors, event promoters and golf bodies across the region, which bodes well for the future of golf in Asia.