East Meets West, screamed the giant billboard at the entrance to Kuala Lumpur's Saujana Golf & Country Club. No points for originality perhaps, but the catchline certainly caught on with the local and international media and was a recurring theme throughout the 38th staging of the Benson & Hedges Malaysian Open. That the four men featured on the banner - Lee Westwood, Darren Clarke, Kang Wook-soon and Boonchu Ruangkit - all missed the halfway cut, may have been an embarrassment to promoters. Nevertheless, there was no denying that it was a week of immense significance for all parties involved in the tournament. For not only did it mark the first jointly sanctioned event between the PGA Tours of Asia and Europe, but also it signalled a welcome breakthrough in the long-standing cold war between the Asian body and the Malaysian Golf Association (MGA). While players from the respective circuits were harmoniously locking horns on the stiflingly humid Saujana fairways, officials of the various organisations were doing likewise in the luxurious comfort of the air-conditioned hospitality tents surrounding the 18th green. On and off the course, camaraderie and co-operation were the by-words. European Tour executive director Ken Schofield poured lavish praise on the progress made by the Asian PGA and gave the strongest hint yet that their events will be granted world ranking points before the year's end. At the same pre-tournament press conference, Schofield's Asian PGA counterpart, Ramlan Harun, exchanged diplomatic pleasantries with compatriot Tommy Lee, the president of the MGA, guardians of the Malaysian Open who have been in open conflict with the Asian PGA for a number of years. Meanwhile, on the venomous Cobra Course, 17 Asians were among the 31 Asian PGA representatives who survived to play at the weekend, indicating that the previously gaping gap in quality between the Tours is being bridged. Even many of those who didn't qualify for the final 36 holes gave a good account of themselves, the sense of pride of the Asian players at being a part of such an historic occasion being best epitomised by Boonchu. The venerable Thai had played himself out of contention with an opening-day 80 and knew an early exit was on the cards. In his position others would have found an excuse to retire or simply have stopped caring at their score. Not Boonchu. He gritted his teeth and kept grinding. His reward was birdies at each of the final three holes of the second round. Not enough to get him through, but sufficient to see him climb from a share of 110th place into a tie for 79th. A wonderful example of a true professional. Sadly the same could not be said of gifted Northern Irishman Clarke. Showing scant respect either for his own reputation or the fans who had taken time off work to watch him in action, Clarke appeared to give up the ghost as the second round drew to a close, culminating in a pitiful four-putt at his final hole. Clarke's reaction was not that of a man who seemed to care much. Although world number six Westwood also missed the cut, similar accusations could not be laid at his door. 'It is important that members of the Asian PGA do well in this tournament. It matters,' confirmed American Gerry Norquist, a veteran of nine years in Asia and a stalwart of the Asian PGA, recently appointed as a player representative on the board of directors. Nobody could accuse the eloquent Norquist of not leading by example as he clung to top spot to clinch the biggest and most prestigious victory of his career. Norquist's commitment was mirrored by officials and staff of the Asian PGA and European Tours whose dedication to the cause was instrumental in ensuring a successful outcome to the first of what promises to be many intriguing meetings of East and West.