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Japan Golf Tour Pulls out of Australian-led 'Super Series'
On Tuesday, the Japan Golf Tour pulled out of this year's controversial PGA of Australia-led "super series" of Asia-Pacific tournaments, saying there were too many unresolved issues.
It followed the PGA of Australia announcing the new series last Friday, saying it had agreements in place with the China Golf Association, the Japan Golf Tour, the Korea Golf Association and the Korea PGA.
But it met with a furious response from the Asian Tour which had not consulted with executive chairman Kyi Hla Han, who said the move violated the protocols which govern the International Federation of PGA Tours.
The Japan Golf Tour Organization (JGTO), the official organizing body of professional golf tournaments in Japan, said it could not take part in the series this year without the Asian Tour being involved.
Rather, it wants to use 2009 to "create the conditions and environment which are conducive to JGTO's full involvement beginning with the 2010 season."
"JGTO feels there are many unsolved questions regarding other member tours' status, conditions of JGTO players' playing conditions, marketing and broadcasting arrangement and contractual obligations each tour has with its sponsors, organizers, TV networks and promoters, just to name a few," it said.
"However, the most significant problem JGTO considers in relation to this series is the lack of involvement on the part of the Asian Tour, whose involvement is absolutely imperative and necessary ..."
The Asian Tour has, for years, organized professional golf in the region and the JGTO said it was still "the most vital entity for the promotion of this sport in this emerging region."
"JGTO looks forward to an unified cooperative relationship between all the parties concerned and will continue to play a major role toward achieving this goal," it said.
The super series is due to begin this year with six elite tournaments. It is scheduled to start with the China Open from April 16-19 and wind up with the Australian PGA Championship on December 10-13.
On Sunday, Kyi Hla said dates for three of the events announced - the Volvo China Open, Midea China Classic and Pine Valley Beijing Open - have agreements in place with the Asian Tour.
"The PGA of Australia has violated the protocols which govern the International Federation of PGA Tours, of which the Asian Tour, PGA of Australia and the Japan Golf Tour Organization (JGTO) are members," he said.
For a related story, see http://www.cybergolf.com/golf_news/asian_tour_denounces_rival_series.