Asian Tour honour Kyi Hla Han with Future Champions Programme

Bernie McGuire
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Kyi Hla Han - Former Asian/European Tour player and CEO of the Asian Tour who passed away in February and is now being honoured by the Asian Tour with the announcement of the Kyi Hla Han Future Champions Programme. (Photo - Paul Laktos/Asian Tour)

It was so sad earlier this year with news that former Asian Tour player and CEO Kyi Hla Han had passed away less than a week after turning the ‘young’ age of just 61.

I got to know Kyi Hla well while travelling to co-sanctioned events in Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia.  He was always engaging and always grateful for the support shown by myself and other European Tour based journalists in travelling to these countries.

He competed in 78 events sanctioned with the European Tour, mainly those events sanctioned with the Asian Tour but always flying the flag for his beloved Myanmar and then in retiring, he took over the reins as CEO of the Asian Tour, leading to a period when European Tour players began playing more and more in Asia under the co-sanctioning agreement.

It’s now great to learn his legacy, not only as a golfer but a proud administrator, will continue with the announcement of the Kyi Hla Han Future Champions Programme.

The Asian Tour, in announcing the programme, says that beginning next month, this exciting new initiative will help nurture some of Asia’s most promising young professional golfers as they start their rookie seasons on the Asian Tour.

Worthy players will be selected annually, by the Han family and the Asian Tour, to receive funding to help with the costs of their debut season on the Asian Tour.

It will be a mission-driven program inspired by Kyi Hla’s lifelong commitment to putting Asia and its golfers on the map.

As a young professional, Kyi Hla was one of the first Asian golfers to compete outside the Asian region. Known for his generosity on and off the golf course, Kyi Hla always gave time and energy towards helping others. For example, Kyi Hla played the role of traveling companion and “big brother” to Vijay Singh, who would later attain the world number one position and win three Majors.

In the 1990s, Kyi Hla was instrumental in founding the Asian PGA Tour, which was the precursor to the modern-day Asian Tour formed in 2004, which is now widely respected as a breeding ground for future champions.

Cho Minn Thant, Asian Tour Commissioner & CEO said: “We are witnessing an incredible period in Asian golf history, so it is only fitting to honour Kyi Hla through the Kyi Hla Han Future Champions Programme. It is a very worthy cause, and I am sure each recipient will be proud to be associated with such a legendary figure. Kyi Hla has made a huge impact on many of us at the Asian Tour, both personally and professionally. Establishing this programme is a fitting tribute to his legacy.”

The 2023 recipient will be announced in the New Year and will receive a cash sponsorship as a kickstart to his rookie campaign on the Asian Tour, along with coverage of Qualifying Schools fees and expenses. In addition to the financial contribution, the player will also be guaranteed a number of starts on the Asian Tour.

Congratulations to the Asian Tour on this wonderful news 

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