The Asian Tour plans to resume their 2020 season in September, with a schedule based on projected relaxation of social-distancing measures and travel restrictions throughout portions of the continent.
For most Asian Tour players, being able to travel between countries will make all the difference.
“We are targeting a conservative restart in September because of the current predicament with restrictions on air travel and large gatherings,” said Asian Tour’s commissioner and CEO Cho Minn Thant. “Unlike domestic markets, we understand international travel will slowly restart in phases and the ultimate lifting of quarantine periods will determine the Tour’s ability to resume full-scale operations.”
The first event on the revised schedule is the Shinhan Donghae Open, to be played Sept. 10-13 at Bear’s Best Cheongna Golf Club for a purse of approximately $1.18 million.
From there, the Tour moves to Taiwan for the Mercuries Taiwan Masters and then to Japan for the Panasonic Open Golf Championship. After that, the schedule is still somewhat in limbo. The Tour hopes to have their fourth event in southeast Asia before going to India for a swing with at least two events — the Panasonic Open India and the re-scheduled Hero Indian Open — and a possible new event in Delhi. There’s the possibility of an event in China, then ending the year with the Hong Kong Open and the Mauritius Open, which would be co-sanctioned with the European Tour.
The Asian Development tour could potentially have anywhere from six to eight tournaments.
“We have been working diligently behind the scenes to rearrange the tournament schedule and ensure that we can play as much tournament golf as practically possible in the last four months of 2020. Our measured approach has been based on the constant changes that we face on a daily basis,” said Cho.
Players will have to expect some logistical challenges beyond travel, including a lack of fans in attendance and prohibiting players from having their own caddies, as well others who regularly travel with them.
From a business perspective, the Tour is also looking at other ways to engage sponsors beyond hospitality tents and places that may draw denser crowds.
The Tour is also still figuring out how it will protect status for players who are unable to compete after the restart due to travel restrictions or health concerns. What the Tour determines will impact how they transition to the 2021 season, but the current plan is for some events in early 2021 to be counted toward this season.