Two hundred Cambodian, Vietnamese and Laotian golfers will participate in the first Friendship Charity Golf Tournament on March 28 at Long Thanh Golf Resort, Vietnam. Cham Prasidh, chairman of the Cambodian Organising Committee for the tournament, said the event will raise funds for the Mutual Foundation, which offers free eyecare and heart operations to homeless people, orphans and victims of natural disasters, as well as providing education scholarships for impoverished students. The chairman called for charitable members of the public to sponsor and support the tournament, with March 15 the deadline for registration. Prime ministers and high-ranking officials of the three countries will also participate in the tournament along with approximately 50 to 70 professional and amateur golfers from each country. Cham Prasidh noted that similar golf tournaments in Vietnam each generated up to US$8 million in 2008 and $6 million in 2007. "We expect to raise more money than these tournaments by allowing golfers from all three countries," he said. Thong Khon, vice chairman of the organising committee, said that players will compete over 36 holes - one round on the hill course and one on the lake course.
The winner's will receive 18 damlung of gold ($18,900), which is to be auctioned to the public. The winning bid will be transferred to the Mutual Foundation, which will distribute it to the three countries, said Thong Khon. Cham Prasidh said that the prime ministers of Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos will decide on the share of the fund. "This year [the Friendship tournament] is held in Vietnam, and if it is successful we want to hold it in Cambodia next year," he said.