Onwards and Upwards: 2021 and Beyond.
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Onwards and Upwards: 2021 and Beyond.

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To All Players and Stakeholders.

When we postponed our tournament season on the 4th of March, 2020, none of us imagined the extraordinary effect that COVID-19 would have on the world and how it would change the way we live our lives forever.

Over the last 18 months, we have all had many challenges to face. As a Tour, our main challenge was to survive in the short term and prepare to navigate “new choppy waters” in the world of professional golf. The most important factor for us has always been to try and enhance our Tour to give our players better playing opportunities and a crystal-clear pathway to develop their individual goals in the future.

As you would all be aware, on August 11th, the Governing Board of the Official World Golf Ranking (“OWGR”) announced major changes to the way the rankings will be calculated from August 2022 onwards. These OWGR changes have been in the offing for the last three years and as a Tour, we have always kept up to speed with how these changes could affect players on development tours.

Importantly, under the new OWGR regulations, there will be no minimum points awarded to any OWGR tour. As an example, what this means is that it will be much harder to graduate from a development tour to the Challenge Tour, then the European Tour and eventually the PGA TOUR. Furthermore, on November 27th 2020, the PGA TOUR and the European Tour announced what they described as a “strategic alliance” which will place an increased pressure on the availability of playing opportunities on these tours and the development tours that they collectively own. It is important to note that we believe it is not up to the OWGR to provide pathways for players, it is up to the OWGR Tours themselves.

We have spent many years working closely with the Asian Tour and firmly believe in the future of this tour and the Asian region, which includes the Middle East. The vision of the Asian Tour has been clearly articulated to us by their Commissioner & CEO, Cho Minn Thant. Cho has been working tirelessly since the commencement of the COVID-19 pandemic to protect his tour and create an even better future for his players. He realises that a tour must demonstrate and invest in a clear pathway to attract players and provide them with a future.

It is because of this vision and set of beliefs that the MENA Tour and the Asian Development Tour will escalate dialogue to create the most comprehensive and innovative development tour in men’s professional golf, outside of the United States, to inspire a next generation and to be an expanded development pathway to the Asian Tour and beyond.

Our mutual engagement with the Asian Tour has been going on for over a year, but it was essential for us to wait until the OWGR announced the new system before we could inform all of our players and stakeholders of our strategy for the future.

Our ongoing dialogue with the Asian Tour is focused on the best way forward, with the initial aim of building a strong schedule of events in 2022. Next year will be somewhat of a transitional year as both Tours rebuild and learn how to optimise the opportunities for all players with tournaments being planned in the Middle East and Southeast Asia and where possible we will always try to minimise the amount of travel between tournaments so our Tour is cost effective for the players.

We look forward to updating you with news of our discussions with Cho and his team in the not too distant future.

We understand that you will have many questions about tournament dates, entry fees, membership fees etc. All members of the MENA Tour in 2020/21 will be able to renew their membership for 2022 and there will not be a Q-School until later in the 2022 calendar for the 2023 season. We will answer these questions as soon as possible however one of the guiding principles of the current discussion with the Asian Tour is the lowering of entry fees for new tournaments.

We are also working through what tournaments we will stage later this year and we will come back to you as soon as possible with these details. For your planning purposes, these tournaments will likely take place in December and into early January.

In the meantime, please continue to #StaySafe and we look forward to seeing you all again soon.

 

With kind regards,

David Spencer

Tour Commissioner

MENA Tour by Arena

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