Seven Indian golfers figure in the top 100 of the prestigious Asian Tour. And if one wondered why Shiv Kapur and SSP Chawrasia have joined the trio of Rashid Khan, S Chikkarangappa and Khalin Joshi in the PGTI MP Cup organised by the Delhi Golf Club on Tuesday, it soon came to know that Asian Tour will resume in November.
Asian Tour winner Rashid is placed 10th in the order of merit followed by Shiv (35th), SSP, Chikka (43rd) and Khalin (92nd) in Delhi. From the top-100, only Rahil Gangjee (44th) and Aman Raj (75th) are the Indians who are missing from the Delhi line-up.
Shiv and SSP who have not played in any of the three PGTI events which resumed in September, have got much-awaited news from the Asian Tour that it will stage a series (including two one million dollar events and another a record $5 million event) of season-ending tournaments to finish its 2020 schedule.
Rashid, who is currently placed 10th after three events, has confirmed he will compete in the Phuket events. The Delhi golfer, 30, is a two-time winner on the Asian Tour winner in 2014 when he finished 11th on the merit list.
“I’m so excited to hear that. I love playing more tournaments. I’m more than glad to know that the Asian Tour is back from November. I’ll go out and try my best,” said Rashid, a two-time winner on the Asian Tour and one of his wins also came in Thailand.
“I want to add as many titles as I can. I need to go out and do well. I’ll be playing in both events in Phuket. In Saudi, the top 30 from the order of merit will get the entry. I will try to maintain my placing in the list which is currently at 10. I’m excited as I love playing more tournaments,” Rashid, who has been playing in PGTI events, told indianexpress.com on Tuesday after the first round of MP Cup where he was tied with three others for lead.
The Asian Tour was stopped owing to the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 and will resume from November 25 with the $1,000,000 Blue Canyon Championship at Canyon Course, followed by another $1,000,000 event Laguna Phuket Championship both to be played at renowned courses in Phuket, Thailand.
After Christmas and New Year break, the tour will meet at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club in Saudi Arabia for a record $5,000,000 Saudi International from February 3 to 6, 2022 and will conclude the season at Millbrook Resort in New Zealand for New Zealand Open from March 31 to April 3.
The four events, which will be telecast live, will ensure the Tour “can complete its Order of Merit, and crown a Merit list champion”.
All four tournaments will be played in tournament bubbles and will closely adhere to local government standard operating procedures (SOPs). Moreover, to compete all players have to be fully vaccinated.
The four – Hong Kong Open, Singapore Open, New Zealand Open and Malaysia Open – events that have been completed in 2020 will be added to the Phuket, Saudi and Kiwi tournaments. Australian Wade Ormsby is the current Order of Merit leader after winning the Hong Kong Open in January, 2020 and has pocketed $227,003 so far from three events he competed.
“We’re thrilled to announce the restart in Q4 of 2021, and most importantly expedite the return of our membership to elite competition,” said Cho Minn Thant, commissioner and chief executive officer, Asian Tour. “The Asian Tour have been working around the clock to resume competition and crown the Merit list champion ? a challenge made more difficult by our reach across many countries and each of their COVID-related protocols. We are confident of being able to complete our season despite several remaining challenges created by the pandemic,” he told asiantour.com on Tuesday.
The Tour is also planning to stage two more tournaments in Singapore over consecutive weeks in January, following the Christmas and New Year breaks. However, more details have been awaited.