"Asian Tour players are concerned second- tier events would perish or offer lower prize money"

Bloomberg's Grant Clark writes that the "Super Tour" plan between the Japan, Australiasia and Asian Tours may hinge on the survival of second-tier Asian Tour events.

If nothing else, this is quite an interesting contrast to the PGA Tour's concern for its second-tier events and especially the Fall Finish, which seems doomed to the apparent dismay of no one with any power.

Japanese and Australian officials reached an agreement to form the ``OneAsia Tour'' from 2009 and are in talks to persuade the player-run Asian Tour and four national circuits to sign up.

Under the plan, the existing tours would act as feeders to the new circuit, which would consist of elite events most weekends of the year. Asian Tour players are concerned second- tier events would perish or offer lower prize money, Han said.

``The OneAsia Tour is worth considering,'' Han said in a phone interview from Bangkok today. ``I'd like to pursue it but I have to make sure the backbone of the tour is sustainable.''

The Japan Golf Tour Organization and the PGA Tour of Australasia signed a memorandum of understanding in October to create the new circuit, which would include the cream of the current events as well as new tournaments. Tours in China, South Korea, Thailand and India may also sign up.

Andy Yamanaka, chief secretary of the Japanese golf ruling body, said the Asian Tour is ``very, very important'' for the viability of the new circuit. Han's task is complicated because his circuit spans multiple countries and golf bodies, he said.

``At this stage, we believe they will be joining us,'' Yamanaka said in an interview from Tokyo. ``A 2009 start may be difficult but it's important for everyone to keep talking.''

The Asian Tour held a meeting in Bangkok two days ago to discuss the plan and the players ``didn't take to it,'' according to Unho Park, a Singapore-based Australian ranked 27th on the money list.

This sounds familiar:

``OneAsia would only benefit the top 20 players,'' Park said by telephone from Bangkok. ``Japan and Australia know the market is Asia so they want a piece of the pie. The players think the Asian Tour can do it by itself.''

And this is fascinating:

``Australia hasn't got much to offer,'' added Simon Yates, a Scot ranked fifth on Asia's money list, in an e-mail response. ``Japan's losing tournaments to the women's tour, which isn't a good sign.''