Australians Banned from Asia Tour for Playing in China Open

The Asian Tour has banned four Australian golfers for playing on the rival OneAsia Tour at the Volvo China Open. Jason King, Chris Gaunt, Brad Kennedy and Ashley Hall had their appeals rejected and were banned for the rest of the season and were hit with a maximum $6,377 fine.

They were penalized for opting to play the China Open without getting an official release from the Asian Tour, of which they are members.

All other Asian Tour players, except those who qualified through the European Tour, boycotted the event amid an ongoing disagreement over OneAsia's emergence.

"The Tournament Players Committee (TPC) has turned down the appeals made by the four players in relation to the disciplinary action handed to them for their participation in the Volvo China Open," said Asian Tour chief Kyi Hla Han.

He added it was in line with their members' handbook, adding that players were fully aware of the consequences of playing without an official release. "Prior to the Volvo China Open, 14 Asian Tour players were also randomly invited to participate in the event, without any attention to normal tour protocol or ranking of the players," Han said.

"None of these Asian Tour players accepted the invitation. The TPC's decision is taken in the greater interest of the majority of the Asian Tour members."

The new OneAsia Tour, formed by the China Golf Association, Korean Golf Tour, Korean PGA and the PGA Tour of Australia, aims to create a new force in world golf. But it's been opposed by the Asian Tour, which has accused it of stealing tournaments, including the China Open, which it once co-sanctioned.

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