Five players who earlier this year got suspended by the Asian Tour have seen their restraint of trade action against the tour lost in the Singapore High Court.
The case was filed by players Terry Pilkadaris and Matthew Griffin from Australia, Anis Helmi from Malaysia, Thailand-based Scot Simon Yates and Manila-based Dutch Guido van der Valk after they were fined by Singapore-based Asian Tour for playing for bigger prize-money on the rival OneAsia Tour and then refusing to pay the US$5,000 fine as stipulated by Tour regulations.
The Singapore High Court disagreed with the players’ restraint of trade claim; “The claim was that the rule preventing them from playing in non-sanctioned tournaments constituted an unreasonable restraint of trade and should be nullified,” the court ruling said.
The ruling stated: “One of the reasons for professional golfers to form associations like the Asian Tour was to gain bargaining strength with tournament sponsors and organisers.”… “The bye-laws help to cohere the body of professional golfers so that the association is united and strong.” … “Although it may appear that there was ostensibly little for the Asian Tour to lose if the plaintiffs were allowed to play in non-sanctioned tournaments, the authority of the Asian Tour would be undermined.
In light of this, the court ordered the players to pay costs.
The OneAsia Tour was established last year by bringing together tours from China, South Korea and Australia to offer players an alternative platform to the U.S. PGA and European Tours. However, it has already received criticism with the Tour not being able to convince the Japan Golf Tour to join, and with the Asian Tour accusing it of stealing their tournaments.