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Plans to play Presidents Cup in China

The USPGA Tour plans to bring The Presidents Cup to China within a decade, while assisting the booming nation to grow its game.

The prestigious tournament pits a 12-strong team of Americans against a dozen of the best from the rest of the world, apart from Europe, every two years.

It is hosted alternately in the United States and countries represented by the international team.

Until now, no Chinese player has featured, but with the growth of the game here, USPGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem said the possibility China might host the tournament in 2019 was being examined.

"We agreed to look at, and over the next year and a half, do a feasibility on the pros of The Presidents Cup being staged in China in perhaps ten years' time," he said.

"This would become a goal of China to create players—one year before the second playing of golf in the Olympics—who can play at that level.

"I'm not sure that's possible, but we are in discussions over the next year as to how it could work, and we'll have more to say about that at a later date."

The development of golf in China has been nothing short of amazing.

The country only opened its first course—the Chung Shan Hot Springs Golf Club, some 80 kilometres (50 miles) across the Pearl River Estuary from Hong Kong—in 1984.

Twenty-five years later and China now has around 500 courses, with the USPGA Tour keen to cash in.

"I think I speak for all of the members of the Federation, and certainly the PGA Tour, when I say that we will do whatever is necessary and everything we can to help underpin that growth and increase the trajectory of growth in the years to come," added Finchem.

Zhang Xiaonang, executive vice president and secretary general of the China Golf Association, said 2019 was a realistic timeframe and his team would work to realise their goal.

"I'm very pleased to see Mr Finchem taking the initiative to bring more and more quality events over to China," he said, after Shanghai hosted the HSBC Champions last weekend, which was upgraded to a World Golf Championship event.

"And also, I would like to say thank you to Mr Finchem for trusting the CGA on having a proposal for The Presidents Cup in 2019 in China. We will welcome this tournament in China.

"By 2019, it will be China's 70-year anniversary. On the first of October it will be our national day, so if we can organise this event that would be a double meaningful event."

Last week, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, the world's top two players, both forecast that China would become a golfing powerhouse within the next 10-15 years.


November 9, 2009

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