We take a look at the company IMG and their involvement in Asian Golf. Robbie Henchman from IMGs head office in Singapore took time to answer a few questions in what is the fastest growing region for golf in the world and how IMG is assisting in its success with a proven track record globally second to none.
What is IMG?
www.imgworld.com - IMG is the premier sports and lifestyle management and marketing firm in the world. Was formed by Mark Mc McCormack in the 1960s with the famous handshake between Mark Mc McCormack and Arnold Palmer, to represent him in all facets of his development both on and off the golf course. In Golf, the company is responsible for approx 47 events around the world as well as some 3500 to 4000 hours of television. Currently IMG represents 6 of the top 10 players in the world, including Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh and Retief Goosen.
The Asian Tour has grown considerably in recent years. How is IMG involved in developing this tour?
IMG, has been the most consistent and prolific promoting entity in Asia Golf since the tours inception in 1994-95. Asian tour events such as the Taiwan Open, Indian Open have been key successes. In past years 3-6 events on Asian Tour have been events managed my IMG each year.
Is IMG involved in the operations of a tournament?
From A to Z IMG is committed to delivering the best managed event along with ensuring both the attending and viewing public receive and experience that exceeds their wishes.
Each tournament has draw card players. What is an example of what IMG does with these key players?
Having a marquee player like Tiger Woods for example is essential in making any event a special event. It is shown that players of Tiger's caliber can increase attendances by 25-30% as well as entice better sponsor support and TV viewing time figures.
What are your thoughts on the development of golf in Asia - the game, the level, the interest?
China is on everybody's focus right now. The tournament scene across al of Asia is a key focus and the next few years' looks very promising. IMG with its key association with the European Tour is ensuring Asia and the rest of world is able to see the significant contribution this region has to the games development. There is not enough significant, grass roots developments, in Asia. However one encouraging aspect is the resources the R and A is putting into the region. This will ensure the game is nurtured and developed in accordance with proper standards etc. The talent in the region is exciting and it is IMG`s commitment to the game over the past 10 years that we feel brings success to the region for the future.
How many people are involved in the operations of an event?
The numbers range anywhere from 20-50 people, depending on the size of the event. Our focus is to provide the full turn key operations and to do so we provide the most experience and professional team in the event management business.
Ladies Golf is growing in popularity, what does IMG do in the ladies game?
Ladies Golf is a huge priority for IMG - Korea and Japan are key markets. In addition we have staged events such as the Lexus Cup event in Singapore (Presidents Cup style event which pits ha world team World against the best in Asia), last year 11 of top 13 ranked women in the world participated. Annika Sorenstam captained the world team and Grace Park, the Asian team
Grass roots development is essential, what does IMG do in this area?
IMG events have always endeavored to include a series of player/junior tie ups at all events. Whether it be to invite elite amateurs to the event or conduct Junior focused events for instruction/education. In addition IMGs association with David Leadbetter provides all golfers with exceptional learning centers throughout Asia.
The future of golf in Asia?
Simply put, there is unlimited potential in this market. The opportunities presenting themselves in the past few years together with 2006 look very good for the game. IMG is very proud to be associated in the games growth and is looking forward to continued success for all associations.
Paul Jones is based in Tokyo and is currently both principal and managing partner for several projects in the development of the game here in Japan and Asia. Paul has held roles in all facets of the sport and hospitality industry including operations, assett acquisitions, assett management, PR and postioning, branding, retail and education.