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Asian finale scrapped as Volvo pulls out

ASIAN golf's season-ending finale has been scrapped this year after sponsors Volvo pulled out, Asian Tour chief Kyi Hla Han said yesterday.

The Swedish automobile manufacturer opted against extending its contract to cover the 2009 tournament in Bangkok forcing the tour to remove the event from the calendar.

Volvo has a long association with the sport but citing the economic climate, instability of Asian golf and political unrest in Thailand, the company decided to end its backing of the limited-field event.

"There is no single issue that has led us to take this decision, more so a combination of factors," Volvo's event management president and CEO Per Ericsson told the Tour's official Website.

"On reflection and taking all these issues into consideration, the board has concluded that it would not be taking up its option on a further extension on this occasion, however remains open to opportunities in Asia in the future."

Asian Tour executive chairman Han confirmed that Volvo's withdrawal had forced the circuit to cancel the event scheduled for December and won last year by Singapore's Lam Chih Bing.

"The tournament is being removed from the calendar," he said. "The sponsors wished to explore alternative events in Asia and wanted to be involved in tournaments with larger fields and outside of Thailand.

"There's a chance the event will return under a new format but we will need to find new sponsorship and may opt to stage a regular players' championship like we did in the past. What's encouraging is that Volvo are still heavily involved in global golf and sponsor a number of events around the globe."

Volvo's current golf portfolio includes the World Match Play Championship, the China Open and the Masters Amateur.


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