Sunday, November 27, 2011


By Bernie McGuire
HAIKOU, China (Reuters) - One of golf's leading sponsors has slammed the game's main Tours, describing them as "greedy" and saying they show little respect to Asia.
Stephen Urquhart, president of Swiss watchmaker Omega, singled out the U.S. PGA and European Tours for continually adding tournaments to their schedules.
Omega currently sponsors the European Tour's Dubai Desert Classic and European Masters in Switzerland. It recently signed a deal to become the 'official timekeeper' of the PGA of America and will include next year's Ryder Cup, PGA Championship and Grand Slam of Golf.
"The big problem with golf at present is a calendar issue and we've told all the Tours that they have to stop being so greedy," Urquart told reporters. "There are too many tournaments and they are adding tournaments all the time.
"And to treat Asia as the stopgap as they do with this week's World Cup is not right. It's wrong and the Tours are not going to win if they keep treating Asia as a stopgap. They need to show Asia more respect.
"Why can't there be a big event like the World Cup here in Asia in June. What's the difference in taking a flight from London to Beijing or London to Los Angeles?
"This is the mentality of the Tours and it is not right."
Urquhart, who confirmed Omega was ending its sponsorship of the World Cup and would from next year again sponsor the Hong Kong Open, said Chinese organisers should be fighting harder for better scheduling of the World Cup.
"Done properly and packaged properly, and staged at a better time of year, no one ... would go anywhere else in the world that given week but to play in the World Cup," he added.
Urquhart also questioned the decision by the Federation of Golf Tours, who run the World Cup, to award Mission Hills hosting rights for 10 years.
"The Federation and Mission Hills know my feeling on this because before this year I was not happy with the fields we were getting, but we've got three Major winners here this year and there's been a lot more respect shown to the event," he said.
Urquhart said he felt it was too early for China to be supporting a tournament on the scale of the World Cup.
"While there are not too many countries in the world who could organise an event like China, the tournament needs to travel around the world."



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