Colombo, Sri Lanka, April 3, 2013: At the media briefing held to announce the Golf Tour of India professional golf tournament, at the Royal Colombo Golf Club from April 16 to 19, 2013. (Pic by Ranjith Wimalasiri)
The Professional Golf Tour of India is set to stage the first professional golf tournament in Sri Lanka this month when over 100 top golf professionals will tee off at The Royal Colombo Golf Club, in The Sri Lanka Ports Authority Open 2013.
Sri Lanka Ports Authority will be the title sponsor.
The tournament will be played at the historic Royal Colombo Golf Club from April 16 to 19, with top professional golfers from Sri Lanka, India and other countries, who will vie for the US$70,000 event (LKR 9,000,000.00).
The tournaments will feature professional golfers of the likes of Shiv Kapur, Anirban Lahiri, Himmat Rai, and Chiragh Kumar, along with local golfing stars and prominent PGTI members – Mithun Perera and Anura Rohana.
Local amateur golfers will tee off in the tournament alongside the professionals, allowing for much needed exposure to the amateur golfers.
The Sri Lanka Ports Authority, already a keen supporter of golf in Sri Lanka, sees this event and its subsequent development over the next few years as a natural progression in raising the sport’s profile in the country.
Dr. Priyath Wickrema, Chairman, Sri Lanka Ports Authority, said, “The Sri Lanka Ports Authority is proud to be associated with the season’s first professional golf tournament in Sri Lanka and towards the growth of the game. We have been supporting various sporting activities and are very keen to take the lead to promote the growth of golf, and it is a great start to have these world class professional golfers coming over to Sri Lanka. With a history of over 34 years in supporting more than 14 sporting disciplines in Sri Lanka, we are definitely proud that the Royal Colombo Golf Club, has been given the opportunity to host such a prestigious tournament, creating history in Sri Lanka.”
Capt. Nihal Keppetipola, Managing Director, Sri Lanka Ports Authority added, “it has brought a golf event of international standing to Colombo and has served the purpose of popularising golf in Sri Lanka. Golf is the most popular game among the maritime fraternity. At the end of the PGTI game, a Pro-Am will be hosted by SLPA, Dialog, BTL Shipping and other sponsors, which will ensure the participation of many high profile golfing personalities, who will be flying down to Sri Lanka to take part in this tournament. I am sure we will all enjoy and most importantly, amateur golfers will benefit most, seeing these professional players in action and by playing with them.”
Integral to the success of The Sri Lanka Ports Authority Open 2013 is the support given by the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau in facilitating key functional aspects of the event and providing a range of marketing and promotional channels to platform the tournament’s exposure and profile. Golf is a major tourism driver throughout the world, and the bureau is looking to support golf in Sri Lanka as part of its tourism brief for the country.
“Golf tourism is a significant element in many countries’ visitor profiles. The Ministry of Tourism is delighted to see new initiatives such as The Sri Lanka Ports Authority Open 2013 and are keen to provide our support to the event, not only to establish Sri Lanka on the world’s sporting map as a quality golfing destination, but also to project the country’s many positive benefits and unique features to a wider audience,” said Rumy Jauffer, Managing Director, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau.
Jeremy Huxtable, Chief Officer for Dialog Enterprise, sharing his thoughts on the tournament and golf at large said, “Dialog Enterprise has stepped forward as the Gold Sponsor for the SLPA Open 2013 tournament as well as the amateur qualifying rounds, based on the firm belief that the support of a strong corporate who will be integral in driving any sport in this country by providing much needed support to players as well as the governing bodies for any given sport. This formula of engagement with a sport has proved to be successful to Dialog when it comes to football, rugby and to a certain extent, cricket in this country. The engagement with golf in powering not just the occasional tournament, but the rising stars of Sri Lanka golf like Mithun Perera, who is incidentally the number 1 player in Sri Lanka, who are currently on the professional circuit, is a reiteration of that belief and engagement Dialog has with sports in general.”
The venue chosen to host the tournament, The Royal Colombo Golf Club, one of the most prestigious golf clubs in the country and a true golfing challenge was established in 1880 and is the oldest golf club in Sri Lanka. The par 71 course measures 6,560 yards through a varied ‘landscape’ of fairways, trees and water bodies. “The Royal Colombo Golf Club is very proud to host The Sri Lanka Ports Authority Open 2013, and to support golf in Sri Lanka, as it takes its rightful place in the professional tour ranks. I am sure all the players and officials will receive a wonderful welcome and really enjoy the RCGC experience. We look forward to a successful tournament and it becoming a well established event in Sri Lanka’s sporting calendar,” said Nimal Piyaratne, Captain, Royal Colombo Golf Club.
Professional Golf Tour of India Director, Padamjit Singh Sandhu expressed his gratitude to the Sri Lanka Ports Authority for its support for golf. Sandhu believes professional golf in the Sri Lanka will continue to grow with continued support from the corporate sector. Sandhu further said, “we are delighted to stage the inaugural Sri Lanka Ports Authority Open in partnership with the Sri Lanka Ports Authority. This new addition to our schedule offers our members yet another opportunity to play outside India. The Sri Lanka Ports Authority Open will further contribute in positioning the PGTI as the premier professional tour in the South Asian region. We wish the players all the best and thank the sponsors, the promoters and the Royal Colombo Golf Club for supporting us in staging this event.
“We are delighted to see our commitment and interest becoming reality and organising the second professional golf events to nurture golf in the country. The staging of such international events is an essential element in any country’s golfing development and we are very pleased to be able to play our part in raising the profile of the sport in Sri Lanka. Real credit and thanks should go to The Sri Lanka Ports Authority, The Ministry of Tourism, Dialog Enterprise and The Royal Colombo Golf Club for their support for the event and all other co-sponsors and the players. We are fortunate in having good relationships with many of the players and they have been really supportive of our initiative in committing to the tournament and helping to create such a strong field,” said Chandana Weerasinghe (Pro Golf) and Neeraj Sareen (Sports Mantra).