PGA Tour Fall Series to Asia? Don’t rule it out
Monday, December 14, 2009
Since I’m so rarely ever right, allow me to call attention to one of the few times I nailed one.
On Nov. 5, I ended my blog regarding PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem’s business trip to Asia with this prediction:
“It seems just a matter of time until regular PGA Tour events are held on Asian soil. Fall Series anyone?”
It didn’t even take a matter of months for my words to ring true. On Dec. 5, Golfweek first reported that the PGA Tour and Asian Tour will co-sanction the Asia Pacific Golf Classic in Malaysia next season.
The 40-man field will consist of the top-25 from the PGA Tour’s final FedEx Cup standings, the top 10 from the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit and five sponsor exemptions. Tournament dates weren’t announced, but sources told Golfweek that the $6 million tournament will be played Oct. 28-31, the week preceding the HSBC Champions. (Such scheduling presumably gives Tour players incentive to make the long trip to Asia.)
The Asia Pacific Golf Classic is an unofficial event and isn’t part of the Fall Series. But Tour veteran Joe Ogilvie agrees with me that it won’t be long before those end-of-year events are played abroad.
“The Fall (events) will eventually all be Asia, maybe the Frys.com Open (which moves to California next year) will survive. But otherwise, it will be all Asia,” said Ogilvie, emphasizing that this was only his opinion and not fact obtained through his role on the Tour’s Player Advisory Council.
Ogilvie envisions “an Australian sanctioned event next, then one with Japan, maybe something in Hong Kong and Korea. That’s where the growth is and from a television-rights standpoint that’s where all the money is going to be. Asia, Asia, Asia.”
If Ogilvie is right, could the Tour take another big step and bring one of golf’s premier events to the Far East? At the HSBC Champions in November, Finchem did not rule out the possibility that China could host the 2019 Presidents Cup.
“We have, first of all, a lot of countries that want The Presidents Cup,” Finchem said. “But it strikes us that. . . that there would be enough Chinese players playing by that time at this level that it would increase the chances that a Chinese player would either make the team, or a captain would select a Chinese player for the team, which would benefit the quality of the event if it's staged here in China.
“Those are one of the things that we will look at over the next year as we are talking about the possibility.”
And now allow me to go buy a lottery ticket before my hot streak wears off.