Asian Tour Becomes Big with ‘Oil Money’…Forty-two K-Golfers Participated in the Competition
South Korean male golfers will challenge the Asian Tour this season. This is because it can be combined with the Korean stage and has recently increased its attractiveness to the Asian Tour as it has grown to “the stakes” due to investment by Saudi Arabia’s capital.
42 South Korean players participated in the final qualifying round for the 2023 Asian Tour Q School, which has been held at Lakeview GC near Juahin, Thailand since the 18th. Korea Professional Golfers’ Association (KPGA) Korean Tour winner, Bae Yong-joon (22), last year’s Rookie of the Year winner, as well as Hwang Joong-gon (31), who won four games on the Japan Professional Golf Tour (JGTO), and the U.S. Professional Golfers’ Association (37) challenged. By country, Thailand has the largest number, with 34 people. As many as 141 South Korean players have participated in the first round.
Until now, Asian tours have not been popular due to the PGA Tour, DP World Tour (formerly European Tour), and JGTO. This is because the prize money was not large even though he participated overseas. The total prize money per competition held before 2022 was only around $1 million. Korea’s prize money is not high, but there is no burden of going abroad.
However, its status has changed since last year. The Asian Tour launched the International Series with investment from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund. Six competitions were held last year with a total prize of $2 million to $2.5 million. This year, four are scheduled by May and are expected to be added later. PIF Saudi International, which will be held as the opening game next month, has a total prize of $5 million. It is as large as most DP world tours.
Korean golfers also give great points in that they can maintain their sense of play as there are competitions in February and March when the Korean Tour is not held. Kim Bi-oh (33), who won two games in the first half of last season alone, said, “His activities on the Asian Tour during the off-season helped me maintain my sense of play.”