Friday, 9 April 2010
OneAsia - Asia Pacific's first consolidated professional tournament pathway for elite golfers - today announced the newest addition on its 2010 schedule - The SK Telecom Open will be played from 20 - 23 May at the SKY72 Ocean Course in Seoul, South Korea.
The tournament has long been one of the flagship tournaments in the Land of Morning Calm and its addition to the circuit means that OneAsia will now boast three professional tournaments in Korea.
“The SK Telecom Open is one of the jewels in the crown of professional tournament golf in Korea and we see its move to the OneAsia schedule as an important part in building a path for the development and growth of Korean golf,” said Song, Byung Joo, Tournament Director, Korean Golf Tour.
"It is important that our top players are pit against the very best of what the rest of Asia Pacific has to offer in order for them to grow individually as athletes - In the long term, this matures our own domestic market as well."
Launched in 1997, the SK Telecom Open boasts a famous list of past winners including Korean star K.J. Choi, who took the title in 2003, 2005 and 2008.
Korean Park Sang-hyun triumphed as tournament champion last year while other notable names on the trophy include Thailand’s Prom Meesawat (2006) and Simon Yates from Scotland (2004).
The tournament also hit the headlines in 2006 when American Michelle Wie made the cut to become only the second female to play all four rounds in a men’s professional event in Korea. Pak Se-ri from Korea was the first in 2003.
In line with its aim to maximize elite player opportunities across the region, the SK Telecom Open - originally listed as the "Seoul Open" (June 17-20) - has been moved to the third week of May to avoid scheduling conflict with other existing tours across the region.
“The SK Telecom Open is one of the region’s standout tournaments regularly attracting world class players," said Ben Sellenger, Chief Executive, OneAsia. "With a fantastic naming rights sponsor like SK Telecom with the support of OneAsia and the Korean Professional Golfers' Association, it has the potential to grow into one of the biggest and best events in the region.
"This will lay the foundation for delivering on OneAsia's ultimate goal to attract and retain the best talent from the region and across the globe, and provide them with an alternative to play solely in Asia, without compromising their development or careers."
Other OneAsia tournaments in Korea in 2010 include the 65th GS Caltex Maekyung Open, which takes place two weeks prior to the SK Telecom, as well as the Kolon-Hana Bank Korea Open held in October.
The latter joined the OneAsia schedule in 2009 and was won by Korea's Bae Sang-moon, a former winner of the SK Telecom Open in 2007.
In 2010, OneAsia will stage 11 tournaments in 2010 for a total of US$13 million in prize money, ultimately seeking to provide players in Asia with an alternative pathway to the PGA Tour and the European Tour.
The SK Telecom Open will be broadcast domestically on SBS, as well as internationally across the OneAsia TV Platform.
OneAsia continues next week in Suzhou with the US$2.5 million Volvo China Open at the Suzhou Jinji Lake International GC in China.