EurAsia Golf launches new tourney in India

NEW DELHI – The first new tournament for the alliance between the European and Asian golf tours will be staged at an Arnold Palmer-designed course in New Delhi in February.

The joint venture company, known as EurAsia Golf Ltd, will co-sanction the $2.1 million Avantha Masters with the Professional Golf Tour of India at the DLF Golf and Country Club from Feb. 11-14, the Asian Tour said in a release Tuesday.

The European Tour co-sanctioned two events in New Delhi in 2008, including the Johnnie Walker Classic at the DLF club, with the Asian and Indian tours. It has been co-sanctioning events with the Asian Tour since 1999.

“Professional golf in India has taken an enormous step forward in recent years, assisted by the superb achievements of a number of players, led by Jeev Milkha Singh,” European Tour chief executive George O'Grady said in the statement. “The European Tour has always enjoyed a rich and varied tournament portfolio and we are delighted to be returning to New Delhi for the first event in our new collaboration with the Asian Tour, under the EurAsia banner, and the PGTI.”

Asian Tour executive chairman Kyi Hla Han said the New Delhi tournament, part of a three-year agreement with Indian business group Avantha, was poised to become the highlight of his tour's 2010 schedule.

“Through our strong partnership with the PGTI and The European Tour, we believe this new tournament will maintain India's terrific growth in the game and provide a wonderful opportunity for the elite golfers from across Asia and Europe.

“We certainly believe the Avantha Masters will greatly impact the game in India and Asia.”

Singh, who won the Asian Tour order of merit last year, and fellow Indian Arjun Atwal are both three-time winners on the European Tour.

PGTI director Padamjit Sandhu said the sport was developing in India.

“The year of 2010 will redefine and reaffirm the potential of professional golf in India over the years to come,” he said.

The New Delhi event is among five new tournaments in an expanded schedule for the Asian Tour, which expand to 28 tournaments in 2010.

The tour also plans to launch a second tier circuit, the Asian Development Tour, for emerging players who do not have full playing rights on the Asian Tour, similar to the Nationwide Tour in the United States and the European Challenge Tour.

EurAsia Golf Ltd was formed in July to solidify the relationship between the tours and handle commercial operations of all the existing and new events co-sanctioned by the European and Asian tours.

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