Asian Tour suspends five in OneAsia dispute

Suspended players Guido van der Valk (left) and Terry Pilkadaris during last week's Thailand Open.

SINGAPORE – Asia’s golfing divide continues to widen with Scotsman Simon Yates and Australian Terry Pilkadaris among five players indefinitely suspendedby the Asian Tour for playing on the rival OneAsia Tour.

Yates, one of the most successful players in Asian Tour history, confirmed his suspension after finishing eighth in last week’s Thailand Open, a former Asian Tour event now on the OneAsia circuit.

“I have been suspended indefinitely and cannot play the Asian Tour until I pay all the fines,” Yates told the Agence France-Presse. “We will just wait and see what happens with the court case.”

Along with Yates and Pilkadaris, Australian Matthew Griffin, Dutchman Guido van der Valk and Malaysian Anis Helmi Hassan are engaged in a restraint of trade action lawsuit against the Asian Tour in Singapore High Court.

A judge last week refused a temporary order preventing the Asian Tour from fining them for playing in OneAsia events. The decision could now be appealed or the case will go to trial.

Asian Tour executive chairman Kyi Hla Han told AFP that he was simply following the tour’s rules and regulations. “As this matter is before the Singapore High Court, we have no further comments,” he said.

Pilkadaris said his entry for the Omega European Masters, Handa Singapore Classic and Barclays Singapore Open have been removed by the Asian Tour. He said: “I have received a letter from the Asian Tour saying I am suspended indefinitely because I have not paid the fine for playing the Indonesia Open on OneAsia. I paid the other fines under protest.

“All I want to do is play golf. I have earned the right to play both tours. I have the right. I just want to play golf. It is as simple as that. I have a family, a mortgage to pay so if there is no tournament (conflicting), I have earned the right to play.”

The suspension does not apply to Asian Tour stars such as China’s Liang Wen-chong, Thai Thaworn Wiratchant, Singapore’s Mardan Mamat and Malaysian Danny Chia because they have paid the fines they incurred for playing on OneAsia.

Asian Tour members who play on OneAsia without a release face a U.S. $5,000 fine. Failure to pay the fine results in suspension.

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