BMW puts Asian golf into top gear with Taiwan tourny


HONG KONG, AFP

Taiwan will stage Asian golf’s first US$1.5 million tournament in November with German car giant BMW putting up the cash. The BMW Open, jointly sanctioned by the European and Asian PGA tours, will have a field of 120 — 60 from Europe and 60 from Asia — guaranteeing some big names. It is to be held at the Westin Resort Ta Shee, near Taipei between November 22-25. The new tournament’s purse, a record for Asia outside Japan, eclipses the current highlight of Asia’s golf year, the US$1.3 million Johnnie Walker Classic, which is moving from Bangkok to Perth, Australia. “The decision to stage the BMW Open in Taiwan is part of our strong overall commitment to the Asian region,” BMW marketing director Thomas Giuliani said. BMW has backed a regular European tour event in Munich for the past 12 years. The company’s decision to expand into Asia in such a big way is another feather in the cap of Asia’s rapidly expanding Davidoff Tour. “The BMW Open will be another feather in the cap for the Davidoff Tour and will be a wonderful way to help bring the curtain down on the 2001 season,” said Ramlan Harun, Executive Director, Asian PGA. “We are delighted that BMW have seen the benefit of becoming involved with professional golf in Asia and by joint sanctioning the event with Europe we can expect to see a world class field,” added Harun.

The BMW Open will be the first event on the 2001/2 European Tour.