European and Asian Tours form strategic alliance after merger talks fail

The European Tour and Asian Tour have formalised a "strategic alliance" after protracted merger talks failed.

A "significant exchange" of playing opportunities has been promised but both organisations -- working from a joint office in Singapore -- will retain brand and logo identities and continue to be managed by separate boards.

European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley said in a statement on Monday: "Following successful discussions over the past year to develop our joint vision, we are delighted to announce this 'Strategic Alliance' which we believe will be of immense benefit to both organisations.

"We have enjoyed a very strong and prosperous relationship with the Asian Tour over the past 17 years and this formalises that partnership, representing an exciting new era in our association."

Ryder Cup vice-captain Thomas Bjorn, chairman of the European Tour's tournament committee, had described a merger as "the only way forward," but some Asian players opposed the move amid fears of a reduction in their playing opportunities.

Speaking last May, commissioner Kyi Hla Han said the Asian Tour would have "disappeared" in the merger, and he welcomed the diluted partnership approach on Monday.

Han said: "This is a very positive step forward in our desire to further grow professional golf in Asia and around the world.

"We believe it will also greatly enhance the careers of our membership, who have embraced this exciting development.

"We are also confident a greater collaboration between the Asian Tour and European Tour will deliver a stronger product to our partners and appeal to new sponsors to get involved with the game. The future looks very exciting for the Asian Tour and European Tour."