Golf: French star Van de Velde targets Asian Tour
Former Ryder Cup star believes the Asian Tour is going from strength-to-strength
KOTA KINABALU, Malaysia, Dec 11, 2007 - Former Ryder Cup star and
1999 British Open runner-up Jean Van de Velde is planning to play full-time on
the Asian Tour, which he sees as going from strength-to-strength.
The Frenchman is hoping that a solid performance this week at the Asian
Tour's qualifying school here will allow him to make his debut next season.
Van de Velde, 40, is switching his focus to Asia as his family is now based
in Hong Kong, but also because he is excited by the growth of the game in the
"My life is taking me to Asia as my wife and my two-year-old baby are now
based in Hong Kong. The Asian Tour is where I want to play and I would like to
focus my game in this region," said Van de Velde.
"The Asian Tour is going to keep growing and become stronger every year.
"In the past five years, we have seen the prize money increase, the quality
of the game improve and the interest rise and I would really love to be part
of this exciting growth here."
He is among the leading players vying to finish in the top-40 and so earn
full playing rights on the Asian Tour next year.
Malaysia's Ben Leong, who topped the field at last year's final stage
qualifier in Thailand, will be hoping to repeat his feat on home soil this
Fellow rookie, Panuwat Muenlek of Thailand, who enjoyed a top-10 finish at
this year's Pine Valley Beijing Open, is also hoping to mount another
challenge on the Asian Tour again by earning his Tour card.