SINGAPORE: After six years building on its stature as "Asia’s Major", Singapore’s top golf championship will head into its seventh edition from Nov 8—11 for the final time as the Barclays Singapore Open.
Confirming talk that the British financial institution will not renew their sponsorship, Singapore Golf Association (SGA) president Bob Tan said on Monday he respected Barclays Capital’s decision and was hopeful of finding a new backer.
He said the British bank’s support since 2006 was pivotal in turning the Singapore Open into a global event that attracted some of the sport’s biggest names here.
In response to queries from TODAY, Barclays head of South—east Asia corporate communications Darrel Wright said: "I can only confirm that we will not be renewing our contract for next year."
The task to find a sponsor with equally deep pockets that can help the Singapore Open retain its reputation as Asia’s richest national open golf championship falls on event promoter World Sport Group.
When Barclays ended their decade—old 3 million—pound—a—year (S$6 million) partnership with the Scottish Open last year, organisers there managed to secure Aberdeen Asset Management as a replacement for this year’s event in July but at 500,000 pounds less.
Said Mr Tan: "It is going to be tough getting the same amount of sponsorship for next year, but I am confident we can find a company who wants to ride on the success of the Singapore Open."
News of Barclays’ impending departure came as a surprise to Mr Kyi Hla Han, executive chairman of Asian Tour, which co—sanctions the event with the European Tour, but he insists the show will go on.
"I didn’t expect this to happen, but the event has built a name for itself and it’s got a global following now. It is one of our biggest events on the Asian Tour," he said.
Local pro Lam Chih Bing said the Singapore Open is a favourite stop for players on the Asian Tour circuit and was confident they will continue to back the event next year.
Said Mr Lam: "I’ve not heard any negative comments from the pros who have played in it. I am confident, they will play for even less money because they like coming here. —