U.S. PGA Tour Pledges To Stay In China After Setting Up Domestic Circuit
The U.S.'s PGA Tour "has pledged to stay in China for the long haul after taking the bold step of setting up a domestic circuit offering players a new route to the top level, including the Olympic Games," according to the AFP. In a move "that could have a big impact on mainland golf, and even the sport's future, the newly established PGA Tour China will roll out 12 events this year." PGA Tour VP Greg Gilligan, the body's managing director for Greater China, said that "the tour also had plans to expand to Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau, and perhaps even farther afield in Asia if successful on the mainland." But Hong Kong Golf Association CEO Tom Phillips said that "was news to him." Phillips: "It's the first I have heard of it. We have had no formal communication with the PGA Tour." The PGA Tour had been considered late to make a move in Asia, and it was not until last year that "it held its first fully sanctioned event in the region, the CIMB Classic in Malaysia." But it has now "stolen a march by offering China's players a route to the PGA Tour while gaining valuable exposure for its brand in the country" (AFP, 3/19).