The global meltdown appears to have claimed a new victim in the SAIL Open. Though the second edition of this Asian Tour event, scheduled from March 19-22 at Gurgaon’s Classic Golf Resort, is on rails, downturn has led to a $100,000 cut in the prize money from the original purse of $400,000.
The Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI), which co-sanctions the event, admitted to the cut but refused to dwell on it. “We got to know about it around a week back,” an official told HT on Monday.
Asked if downturn was responsible, the official said: “We are not in a guessing game. Authorities in SAIL (Steel Authority of India) are the people to talk to.”
Amandeep Johl, a senior pro and one of the event promoters, confirmed the cutback but advised caution. “We were forced into it by the dollar’s appreciation. Going by the current rate, the amount released by SAIL translates to around $305,000.
“Let’s not rush into things as we are in talks with co-sponsors to up the amount and a clear picture should emerge by tomorrow evening. The only reason we announced the cut (on the Asian Tour’s website) was to play it safe. A shortfall would have upset the players.”
A top SAIL official too fell in line. “It is not official yet but yes the reduction is happening,” he said. The official though didn’t elaborate. “I am not in a position to reply as the file is yet to reach me.”
The current move comes on the heels of the Indian Masters and Indian Senior Masters being hit by the meltdown. The second edition of the Indian Masters, the country’s only European Tour event, was put off to next year after the sponsors ‘Golf in Dubai’ expressed regret.
Billed as the European Senior Tour’s maiden venture in India, the Senior Masters was put off last year on the promise that it would see the light in the New Year. But economic conditions forced the Senior Tour to look at 2010.