Golf’s European Tour has confirmed a co-sanctioned event with the Asian Tour in Thailand as one of the new tournaments on its 2015 international schedule.
The inaugural Thailand Classic will take place from February 12-15 – as initially discussed yesterday (Monday) by Asian Tour chief executive Mike Kerr – eight years after the European Tour last visited the country with the 2007 Johnnie Walker Classic in Phuket.
A week later the Indian Open makes its debut on the European Tour schedule, once again under a co-sanctioning agreement with the Asian Tour and concluding a three-week run on the continent that begins with the Malaysian Open at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club on February 5-8. The Malaysian Open moves from an April staging.
The 2015 International Schedule launches two weeks after the World Tour Championship concludes in Dubai on November 23, with the Nedbank Golf Challenge at Gary Player Country Club, in Sun City, South Africa from December 4-7.
The Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek Country Club, Malelane follows and the European Tour will remain in South Africa after Christmas when the South African Open Championship tees off on January 8 at Glendower Golf Club, Johannesburg for a second consecutive year.
Next on the agenda is the Tour’s traditional ‘Desert Swing', beginning with the 10th anniversary of the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship from January 15-18 and on to the Qatar Masters and Dubai Desert Classic – the latter concluding at Emirates Golf Club on February 1.
The Joburg Open from February 26 to March 1, the Africa Open on March 5-8 and the third edition of the Tshwane Open comprise a return to South Africa after the new Asian swing.
The World Golf Championship begins with the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Trump National Doral in Florida, also on March 5-8, and the Tour’s first event on European soil in 2015 comes at the Madeira Islands Open before heading back to Africa for the Trophee Hassan II at Golf du Palais Royal, Morocco on March 26-29.
The initial sector of the season concludes with 2015’s first major championship, the Masters at the iconic Augusta National, and European Tour chief operating officer and director of international policy Keith Waters said: “The initial part of the 2015 Race to Dubai once again demonstrates the global appeal of the European Tour, with the familiar swings in South Africa and the Desert, allied to a new date for the Malaysian Open, and the introduction of two new events, in Thailand and India.
“The early sector is a period when we continue our strong relationships with both the Asian Tour and Sunshine Tour which, as we previously announced, will be further underlined later in the 2015 campaign when the three Tours come together for the first time to tri-sanction the Mauritius Open at the start of May.”
Meanwhile, the European Tour and the Asian Tour have confirmed their co-sanctioned Hong Kong Open will be staged from October 22-25 next year, extending a collaboration established at the 2001 tournament in alliance with the Hong Kong Golf Association. The Hong Kong Open becomes the last event on the European Tour International Schedule before its lucrative Final Series gets underway.