Asian Tour in Golf: Schedule, Best Players and History

The Asian Tour logo is displayed behind Jbe Kruger as he tees off during a tournament in 2014.

 Francois Nel/Getty Images

 

The Asian Tour is one of two top-level golf tours in Asia for professional golfers. Golfers from around the world are eligible to play its tournaments. The tour's official website describes it as "the official regional sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia" and "the only recognized pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia."

Fast Facts: Asian Tour

  • Description: Top-level professional golf tour based in Singapore.
  • Event Dates: Begins each year in January and runs through December. At least one tournament takes place in each month.
  • Location: Tournaments are played across Asia, including India, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, China, Taiwan, Malaysia and Thailand.

The Asian Tour is headquartered in Singapore. While professional golf tournaments have been played in Asia for many decades, going back to the first half of the 20th century, the current Asian Tour dates back only to 1995.

Golfers earn membership in the tour by competing in its qualifying school or "Q-School": a tournament, usually played in late December or early January, that awards Asian Tour membership to its top finishers.

The tour also runs the Asian Development Tour, a secondary-level circuit of tournaments for golfers who aspire to move up to the Asian Tour.

Relationship to Majors and Other Pro Tours

The Asian Tour is part of the International Federation of PGA Tours (known by the acronym IGF) and is one of two Asia-based IGF men's tours along with the Japan Tour.

As an IGF-recognized tour, the Asian Tour awards points that are counted by the Official World Golf Ranking. The Asian Tour frequently co-sanctions tournaments with other tours, meaning multiple tours recognize an event as an official tournament on their schedule. That includes partnering with the European Tour to run the EruAsia Cup, a Ryder Cup-style tournament for teams of golfers representing Asia and Europe.

The only direct relationship the tour has with any of the four majors of men's golf is that the tour's leading money winner earns a place in the field at the British Open. In addition, the British Open designates the Singapore Open as part of its Open Qualifying Series (top finishers in OQS-designated tournaments receive entry into the British Open). Also, world ranking points earned on the Asian Tour play into automatic qualifying criteria at all four of the men's major championships.

Asian Tour Tournaments and Schedule

Several of the flagship tournaments on the Asian Tour schedule include the Singapore Open, Hong Kong Open and Maybank Championship.

The Singapore Open dates to 1961 and has a winners list that includes the likes of Adam Scott, Angel Cabrera, Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat plays a tee shot during the Singapore Open tournament on the Asian Tour.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat tees off in the Singapore Open. Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

The Maybank Championship, played in Malaysia and previously known as the Malaysian Open, is co-sanctioned with the European Tour and is one of the higher-dollar tournaments in Southeast Asia.

The Hong Kong Open dates to 1959 and has been played every year at Hong Kong Golf Club. The Masters, at Augusta National Golf Club, and the Hong Kong Open are the only tournaments in top-level professional golf that have been played at the same golf course for 50 consecutive years or more.

Tournaments remaining on the 2018 Asian Tour schedule are:

  • Sept. 13-16: Shinhan Donghae Open at Bear's Best Choengna Golf Club in Korea
  • Sept. 20-23: Asia Pacific Diamond Cup at Masashi Country Club in Japan
  • Sept. 27-30: Mercuries Taiwan Masters at Taiwan Golf and Country Club
  • Oct. 4-7: Yeangder TPC at Linkou International Golf and Country Club in Taiwan
  • Oct. 11-14: UMA CNS Open Golf Championship at Karachi Golf Club in Pakistan
  • Oct. 11-14: CIMB Classic at TPC Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia
  • Oct. 25-28: WGC HSBC Championship at Sheshan International Golf Club in Shanghai, China
  • Oct. 25-28: Panasonic Open India at Delhi Golf Club
  • Nov. 22-25: Honma Hong Kong Open at Hong Kong Golf Club
  • Nov. 22-25: ISPS Handa Melbourne World Cup of Golf at The Metropolitan Club in Australia
  • Nov. 29-Dec. 2: AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open at Four Seasons Golf Club in Anahita, Mauritius
  • Dec. 6-9: Ho Tram Players Championship at The Bluffs, Ho Tram Strip in Vietman

The tour's complete 2019 schedule will be released late in 2018, but the Asian Tour traditionally tees off in January with the Singapore Open.

The Asian Tour's Greatest Players

Any discussion of the greatest golfers in the Asian Tour's history has to begin with Thongchai Jaidee. The Thai golfer is the only three-time leader of the season money list in the tour's relatively short history. He is the tour's all-time leading money winner. His 13 wins (first in 2000, most recent in 2010) are second in tour history.

Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand celebrates a birdie during a 2015 golf tournament.
Thongchai Jaidee. Warren Little/Getty Images

Jaidee rose high in the world rankings and since 2010 has played primarily in the United States and Europe. Consequently, he is unlikely to catch to the Asian Tour's leading winner. Thaworn Wiratchant, also of Thailand, has 18 career wins on the Asian Tour, which is the tour record.

Anirban Lahiri (India), Kiradesh Aphibarnrat (Thailand), Seung-yul Noh (South Korea), Scott Hend (Australia) and Arjun Atwal (India) are other notable Asian Tour golfers who also had success on other tours, including the top two, the European Tour and PGA Tour.

Top golfers from other world tours sometimes make a stop on the Asian Tour, too. Tiger Woods, Ernie Els, Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter and Justin Rose, for example, all have Asian Tour victories. Adam Scott has won four times on the Asian Tour, Lee Westwood nine times.

The Asian Tour's Highest Winnings

Two-time leaders of the money list include Wiratchant plus Jeev Milkha Singh (India), who holds the single-season earnings record, and Wook-soon Kang of South Korea.

These are the golfers who've led the tour in winnings each year (with the golfer's country of origin in parentheses):

  • 2017: Gavin Green (Malaysia), $585,813
  • 2016: Scott Hend (Australia), $1,004,792
  • 2015: Anirban Lahiri (India), $1,139,084
  • 2014: David Lipsky (United States), $713,901
  • 2013: Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Thailand), $1,127,855
  • 2012: Thaworn Wiratchant (Thailand), $738,047
  • 2011: Juvic Pagunsan (Philippines), $788,299
  • 2010: Seung-yol Noh (South Korea), $822,361
  • 2009: Thongchai Jaidee (Thailand), $981,932
  • 2008: Jeev Milkha Singh (India), $1,452,702
  • 2007: Wen-Chong Liang (China), $532,590
  • 2006: Jeev Milkha Singh (India), $591,884
  • 2005: Thaworn Wiratchant (Thailand), $510,122
  • 2004: Thongchai Jaidee (Thailand), $381,930
  • 2003: Arjun Atwal (India), $284,018
  • 2002: Jyoti Randhawa (India), $266,263
  • 2001: Thongchai Jaidee (Thailand), $353,060
  • 2000: Simon Dyson (England), $282,370
  • 1999: Kyi Hla Han (Myanmar), $204,210
  • 1998: Wook-soon Kang (South Korea), $150,772
  • 1997: Mike Cunning (United States), $170,619
  • 1996: Wook-soon Kang (South Korea), $183,737
  • 1995: Keng-chi Lin (Taiwan), $177,856