KUALA LUMPUR: Ending weeks of speculation, the Malaysian Golf Association (MGA) finally broke its silence by announcing the appointment of Asia’s leading sports marketing agency World Sport Group (WSG) as the new event promoter for the Malaysian Open.
In front of a packed media horde on Monday, MGA president Admiral (R) Senator Tan Sri Dato Setia Mohd Anwar Mohd Nor shared that the WSG was appointed for the period of 2016-2018 after an independent and transparent “open tender exercise” as well as internal due diligence process by an “Evaluation Tender Committee”.
WSG beat Parallel Media Group to the job after previous promoter GlobalOne expressed its “unwillingness” to participate in the tender exercise.
Mohd Anwar shared that despite a letter of intent to continue its title sponsorship of the national Open prior to the commencement of the tender exercise, Maybank unilaterally withdrew its support on July 9. This was followed by the bank’s announcement that they would front their own professional golf championship in February 2016.
While accepting that the title sponsor “has a prerogative to withdraw at any time”, Mohd Anwar reiterated the association’s commitment that the show will go on next year, with the venue, date and crucially, prize purse to be announced as soon as a new title sponsorship is crystallised.
“As the custodians of the Malaysian Open, it is important for the MGA to ensure that national interest must reign over all other interest and that all parties, sponsors and stakeholders associated with the Malaysian Open clearly benefit from the event,” said Mohd Anwar.
“We will like to put on the record our appreciation to Maybank for his decade-long sponsorship of the Malaysian Open, commencing from 2006. They have been a kind and generous partner in raising the prestige of the national Open and also in their support for our efforts to grow the game at the grassroots level,” he added.
On another note, the association confirmed that they will continue to engage with their existing partners – the European and Asian Tours – but refused to be drawn into a conclusive decision on the matter.
“We remain confident that the Asian Tour – who have been our long-standing partner – will continue the sanction this tournament. We don’t have European Tour onboard with us at the moment because of their commitment with GlobalOne but our faith rests with WSG in exploring arrangements with the international Tours and ensuring that our new title sponsor’s expectations and obligations are met,” noted MGA honorary treasurer Bryan Andrew Perera.