Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian golf professionals can look forward to better times as the Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) Tour continued its rapid growth trend with the unveiling of its richest schedule yet for 2015.
In outlining the Tour mechanics for its fifth full season, PGM Tour chairman Tun Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid announced on Tuesday that the Tour will comprise of 31 events next year, offering prize money in excess of RM6 million.
Twelve tournaments will be co-sanctioned with the Asian Development Tour (ADT) with three further events to be run in conjunction with the ASEAN PGA Tour. Fifteen other championships will be limited to domestic professionals only, including an inaugural 64-player matchplay event in June.
The tour will tee-off with the Panasonic Open Malaysia – Tournament of Champions at Templer Park Country Club from January 7-10, featuring all the winners on the burgeoning domestic circuit since its inception in 2010. The elite-field tournament will carry a prize purse of RM250,000 and will offer Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) points.
As in previous years, the season-ending Players Championship in December will also guarantee its winner a slot in the Maybank Malaysian Open the following year.
New venues for the 2015 season include Bukit Jawi Golf Resort, Danau Golf Club and Taiping Golf & Country Club while Lanjut Golden Beach & Golf Resort will return after a short hiatus.
In a wide-ranging review of the current season, Ahmad Sarji said that he was delighted with the smooth-running of the Tour in 2014 and was looking forward to winding it down next month.
“Looking at the 2014 Order of Merit, almost half of the top-30 players are below the age of 25, which is a clear indicator that the younger players are now beginning to perform consistently on the circuit. This is largely due to the exposure and regularity the Tour schedule provides.In fact, in any tournament now it’s very difficult to predict who the winner is,” he noted.
“We have maintained the number of events co-sanctioned with the ADT at 12, giving the opportunity for our better players to add to their OWGR points total and gain qualification to the 2016 Olympics.”
He also added that Tour will modify the format of Order of Merit beginning next year, with the inclusion of 50% of money earned on selected domestic and overseas tournaments.
“This would include money earned on ASEAN PGA, Asian Development Tour, Asian Tour, OneAsia, European Tour, US PGA Tour, Japan Golf Tour, Sunshine Tour and PGA Tour of Australasia as well as domestic events such as the Maybank Malaysian Open, CIMB Classic, Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters and the Vascory Classic,” explained Ahmad Sarji.
Meanwhile, Asian Tour executive chairman Kyi Hla Han explained that the ADT were only too happy to be part of the PGM Tour schedule and added that they would continue to work “hand-in-hand” with the PGM Tour, which he described as “crucial” to the development of the game in Asia.