Hong Kong - The merger of two of the world's major golf tours will see the
largest shake-up of the professional game since the European Tour was created
more than 40 years ago, Asian Tour CEO Mike Kerr said.
The European and Asian tours declared last week that they intend to combine
their playing memberships and business dealings into a mega-tour that will
stretch from the Atlantic coast of Ireland to the shores of the Pacific in the
"I can't think of anything bigger," Kerr said in a phone
interview, when asked whether it was golf's most important development since
the European Tour's creation in 1972.
Kerr said details of the new tour could be announced very soon as talks to
hammer out the details were already at an advanced stage.
"We are working through this as fast as we can," he said. "I
don't envisage it will be a protracted and prolonged process.
"In some way we've been through at least some of the tough discussions
and negotiations between us and now it's about coming together and making this
"When we get further details that we are able to deliver I think we
will do that. There's no reason for us to hold back."
Kerr said discussions were "confidential" but did confirm that
there would in future be just one tour with a single membership comprising the
current players on the European and Asia Tours.
"This will involve the merger of the memberships and the merger of the
business," he said.
"You can make that leap, yes, to say there will be a single membership.
"It will be based on merit and the Asian Tour members will effectively
get access to the entire schedule of tournaments that would be included in any
Kerr says ultimately the tours are there to benefit their members -- the
players -- and the merger will ensure long-term stability in a sport which has
seen some events disappear from the calendar in recent years.
"I don't think that we would have embarked on this had we not believed
that actually it would satisfy our core purpose, to deliver more earnings and
more opportunities for all of our members," he said.
He said that the announcement had been well received within the game and it
now was a case of talking to the players and ensuring they understood the plan
and were comfortable with it.
"We are now starting that process on both sides. Everything that I have
heard, either through the media, through partners, sponsors or from players has
been very positive. Quite honestly there has been no negativity whatsoever.
"Most importantly we need to get to our members, to ensure they
understand these details, to ensure they're comfortable with them and
effectively approve them going forward."
He would not be drawn on whether this would mean the end of their struggling
rivals, the OneAsia Tour, which has staged just six tournaments so far in 2015.
"You will have to ask them," he said, but added the merger would
start to mend Asia's "fractured" golf scene.
"One of things that has retarded the growth of golf in Asia has been
the fractured nature of it," Kerr said.
"If you look at the map of the world to the left you've got the
Americas dominated by the PGA Tour. In the middle you've got the European Tour.
But if you look to the right it's whole mishmash of everybody involved.
"So when we talk about consolidating it's not about making things
smaller, it's about making things clearer.
"It's about the long term. It's about sustainability. It's about scale.
And that's what we will achieve - long-term stability. It's a fantastic