Reuters - Fri, 16 Apr 11:52:00 2010
The new OneAsia Tour faces an embarrassing boycott by South Korean golfers in local tournaments because of a storm brewing over entry spots.
Media reports said Koreans were set to snub three major events on home soil because of a reduced number of entries available for local players.
The OneAsia Tour said reports of a boycott threat were baseless.
The events mentioned by the Sports Seoul newspaper were the SK Telecom, Maekyung Open and Korea Open, reporting the number of entries had been cut from 60 to 40 for home players.
"Korean players are upset they're not getting the spots they used to get on the Asian Tour," Asian Tour chief Kyi Hla Han said. "We have never had a boycott in 20 years".
The new Asia-Pacific OneAsia Tour was launched last year, driven by the Australian PGA with the support of the Chinese and South Korean governing bodies.
The Asian Tour, which views itself as golf's the standard bearer in the region, has accused the new body of "cannibalising" their tournaments.
OneAsia said reports of a boycott threat was "of no substance" and predicted from their preliminary entry lists there would be "at least 60" Korean players involved.
However, a senior KPGA and KGT official insisted a pullout by South Korea players was not a hollow threat.
"We are taking this boycott very seriously," tour operations chief Hoon Cho told Reuters via e-mail. "Players are afraid their playing spots might be getting smaller if tournaments on the Korean Tour keeping moving into the OneAsia Tour".