In a landmark development for professional golf in the region, this year’s Indonesia Open will be joint sanctioned by OneAsia and the Japan Golf Tour Organization (JGTO).
The US$1 million tournament will be played from March 22 to 25 and it will signify the first time the two bodies have jointly sanctioned an event together.
The importance of the occasion will be added to as the Indonesia Open will raise the curtain on both the OneAsia and JGTO seasons.
Emeralda Golf Country Club, located just outside Jakarta, will host the tournament which will see the leading players from each circuit compete.
The tie up between OneAsia and the JGTO is part of three-year arrangement for the Indonesia Open. A press conference will be held shortly in Jakarta to announce sponsorship details.
OneAsia will feature at least 14 events this year with an overall purse of nearly US$16 million.
The Indonesia Open is one of five national Opens on its’ schedule along with those of Australia, China, Korea and Thailand.
“This is a wonderful development for OneAsia which since our launch in 2009 has aimed to build a circuit that brings together the whole of the Asia Pacific region. We have enjoyed excellent growth with the support of our founding members the PGA of Australia, the China Golf Association, the Korea Golf Tour and the Korea Golf Association, and we look forward to developing this further through this new relationship with the Japan Golf Tour Organization,” said Sang Y. Chun, Commissioner and Chairman, OneAsia.
News of the joint sanctioning comes on the back of the recent announcement that OneAsia will boast three new events this year, the China Classic, the Guangzhou Open and the PGA Championship of Malaysia.
“Not only are we trying to create more playing opportunities for players in the Asia-Pacific region but we are also ensuring that we are able to offer a top-tier platform of elite events that will allow our region’s golfers to make an even greater impression on the world stage. Joint sanctioning the Indonesia Open for the next three years with our friends on the Japan Golf Tour Organization is certainly one extremely effective way of achieving this objective,” added Chun.
All OneAsia tournaments have the benefit of being broadcast on a truly global television platform that includes ESPN Star Sports across Asia, Korea’ s SBS television, ONE World Sports, the leading Asia-Pacific focused sports network in the US, and across Africa on SuperSport.
“On behalf of the Japan Golf Tour Organization and its members, I would like to extend our most sincere appreciation to those who made it possible for our Tour and the players to participate in this traditionally rich tournament. We, at the JGTO, have long sought opportunities to establish our presence in the Asian region and this invitation to participate in the Indonesia Open is most appreciated since it will provide our players with playing opportunities prior to the beginning of our official Tour calendar,” said Tadashi Koizumi, Chairman, Japan Golf Tour Organization.
“We are certain that the success of this tournament will bring professional golf in Japan and Asia closer, and we look forward to establishing a mutually beneficial working relationship with the professional golf bodies in the Asian region,” added Koizumi.
Three Japanese players, Masaya Tomida, Koichi Katamura and Masao Nakajima, were among the 20 golfers to secure their OneAsia cards at the recent OneAsia Qualifying School in Sabah, Malaysia.
A host of Japanese players also competed in last year’s Indonesia Open, including Shigeki Maruyama and Hideto Tanihara, which was a strong indication of the interest being shown in OneAsia by players from The Land of the Rising Sun.
“We welcome this initiative for the Indonesia Open which will definitely lead to a stronger field and greater global television coverage. It is a development that allows us to further raise the profile of our national Open and start a new chapter in its rich history,” said Arifin Panigoro, Chairman of Indonesia Golf Association (PGI).
The Indonesia Open was first played in 1974 when the legendary Ben Arda of the Philippines won the title. Arda, the first Filipino to play in the US Masters, was followed into the winner’s circle by several greats of the game including American Payne Stewart (1981) and Frank Nobilo from New Zealand (1994 and 1997).
The tournament became part of OneAsia in 2010 when New Zealand’s Michael Hendry was victorious.
Last year Thailand’s Thaworn Wiratchant triumphed to claim his first title on OneAsia. The victory also marked his second success in the event as he triumphed in 2005 and was the 15th international victory of his illustrious career.