Allied Domecq (Singapore) is being sued for S$10.4m for allegedly backing out of an agreement to sponsor a golf tournament. The Asia Pacific agent for AD, owner of the Ballantine whisky brand, is in court this week after the competition's organiser, Excel Golf, claimed the company went back on a part-oral, part-written agreement between the two, made in 2002.

The lawsuit alleges that AD (Singapore) agreed to sponsor the European Seniors Tour tournament, Ballantine's Legends of Golf, for three years but did not, leading to the 2002 tournament being postponed, then eventually cancelled. The competition was scheduled to have been held at the Laguna National Golf and Country Club from 8 November to 10 November 2002.

Excel claims that it gave Allied Domecq exclusive rights to name the European Seniors Tour Ballantine's Legends of Golf, in return for financial sponsorship. AD, Excel says, paid $242,500 for the rights and still owes the company a non-refundable fee of S$220,000. It also claims that AD promised to pay the annual prize money of US$500,000 (S$847,000) for 2002, last year and this year's tournaments.

AD disputes the claim and is counterclaiming S$450,000 and damages from Excel for breaching their oral agreement. AD says that Excel failed to provide adequate promotional publicity leading up to the event as agreed orally. The drinks company also claims that Excel only managed to get one of the five 'star' players it had promised to appear at the tournament.

The distributor says that it and Excel had only an oral agreement over the arrangements, and that the detailed terms of a proposed written agreement have yet to be finalised.

The hearing has been fixed for March 5.