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Asian Tour chief hints at thaw in OneAsia relations

Asian Tour chief executive Mike Kerr has insisted that the golf organisation is set to overcome its current difficulties and has not ruled out the prospect of a potential partnership with arch-rival OneAsia.

Kerr has conceded that Asian golf is currently facing a “challenging” time with sponsors hard to find and only seven confirmed stroke play events on this year’s Asian Tour schedule so far. However, he told the AFP news agency that the Tour is set to announce another four tournaments for the coming months and hopes to have a total of 25 by the end of the year – the same as last season.

Kerr’s comments have come after golfers at last week’s Championship in Singapore voiced concerns at a lack of playing opportunities. “I can understand some of the frustrations that they may have at this point,” Kerr said.

“There have been some external factors that have meant that maybe our ability to announce events has been somewhat restricted. But I think come the end of the year, we're going to have a similar number of tournaments (to last year), if not more, in what is a fairly tough year.”

Kerr said that uncertainty over elections in India and also political unrest in Thailand, both key markets for the Asian Tour, had hit attempts to organise tournaments this year. The Championship was also moved from South Korea to Singapore at the last minute following the loss of main backer Ballantine’s after six consecutive editions of the tournament.

The Asian Tour has been at loggerheads with OneAsia since the emergence of the latter organisation in 2009. Kerr has previously dismissed talk of a cessation in hostilities, but has hinted that stance could be relaxed.

He added: “I don't think that anything is off the table. I think there are two fundamental issues, one is TV rights and the other is structure. One way or the other, there is going to be consolidation in the Asian market. But that doesn't necessarily mean that Coke and Pepsi have to jump into bed together.”