TOKYO – The PGA Tour is expanding its footprint in Asia.
A new event in Malaysia will be played the week preceding the HSBC Champions tournament in China, sources told Golfweek. A formal announcement by the Tour is expected this week.
Messages left with the Tour were not immediately returned.
The PGA European Tour has taken the lead in worldwide expansion, playing seven official-money events in East Asia and four in the Middle East, notably the season-ending Dubai World Championship.
Commissioner Tim Finchem recently spent several weeks in Asia, reportedly investigating the possibility of new tournaments in China, Japan and Malaysia.
The Malaysian tournament, set for Oct. 28-31, is expected to be the only overseas addition to next year’s schedule.
One major question: How many American players will travel halfway across the world a month after the FedEx Cup Series?
The Malaysian tournament’s position one week ahead of the HSBC Champions, a World Golf Championship event, could help the trip make sense for the Tour’s stars. The HSBC in Shanghai this year was granted WGC status and drew massive galleries to watch the likes of Tiger Woods and eventual winner Phil Mickelson.
However, 10 eligible American players, including U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover and No. 3-ranked Steve Stricker, did not make the trip.
It is unknown whether the new Malaysian tournament and the HSBC Champions will be official-money events next year.
The growth of the game in Asia could be a strong selling point for golf’s stars. Mickelson, for example, has targeted Asia for his fledgling course-design business. He recently announced he had designed a new course in Tian Jin that is scheduled to open next year.