Bo Van Pelt is working hard to defend his crown at the CIMB Classic. He sits tied for the lead after the third round. (Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE

Rift Between PGA and Asian Tour Developing Over CIMB

Next year, the CIMB Classic will become a full-fledged PGA TOUR event. Monies earned will count and an allocation of FedEx Cup points will be awarded.

Within some circles, that is good news. There is apparently a disagreement on how the spots in the field will be filled.

The 2013 edition of the CIMB will see the field increase from 48 to 78. The issue will be the number of invites to the two tours that will co-sponsor the vent: the PGA TOUR and Asian Tour. Yesterday, according to Patrick Johnson of Rueters, the PGA announced that 60 of the 78 spots will be filled by those taken from the PGA TOUR’s FedEx Cup list with 10 from the Asian Tour and the remaining 8 spots as sponsor exemptions.

This news did not sit well with those at the top of the Asian Tour. Grumblings from Asian Tour fans only served to broaden the rift. In the mind of Asian Tour official executive chairman Kyi Hla Han, no such agreement on the spots has been made. He also stated that with the size of the field being increased, he would expect Asian Tour players to receive a proportioned increase in players in the field.

If you think about it, Kyi Hla Han is right. Isn’t this what “co-sponsor” should mean? Limiting their “portion” of the field to 10 spots seems a little unfair. Actually, more than a little. Even if the tournament hosts were to grant all 8 exemptions to Asian Tour players, that could still leave it at a 60 to 18 tilt toward the PGA players. Hardly a “co-sponsorship” works logically based on this imbalance.

Ponder this. How many PGA TOUR players also have membership on the Asian Tour? I’m willing to bet that number is not enough to overcome the “difference” in the spots that would be allocated which could tilt the number even the slightest bit toward the Asian Tour’s favor.

Obviously, there are further details the PGA and Asian Tour need to iron out before next year’s event, but we know that the PGA would love nothing more than to take the bulk of the spots in the field.  With the news of the PGA wanting 60 spots, you have to wonder if an “agreement” can be reached that would sit well with all parties involved.

Tags: Asian Tour CIMB Classic Golf PGA

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