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PGA Tour to launch PGA Tour China in 2014

By Kyle Porter | Golf Writer

Phil Mickelson takes aim in China recently. (Getty Images)
Phil Mickelson takes aim in China recently. (Getty Images)

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The 2013 PGA Tour swing through China wasn't even over when it was announced that it would continue, albeit in an entirely different fashion, in 2014.

The PGA Tour announced it will be introducing PGA Tour China in 2014 -- a 12-event, $200,000-per-tournament purse swing that will copycat what PGA Tour Canada and PGA Tour Latinoamerica have done.

The tour will start in March 2014.

PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said the 12 events will allow for a greater development of stars in the Far East.

"We know from looking at the history of golf that the growth of the game is driven first and foremost by the development of elite players," PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem said Sunday. "Having the opportunity to grow the elite players . . . will also translate into the acceleration of the growth of the game in China, which is in all of our interests."

Ownernship in PGA Tour China will be split between the PGA Tour, the China Golf Association, and (interestingly) the China Olympic Sports Industry.

Zhang Xiaoning, executive vice president of the China Golf Associaion said the tour was established "particularly to provide an opportunity for China golfers to stay in their home to compete in much higher level tournaments."

Finchem noted that the tour could be a stomping grounds for future stars in the United States.

"We plan to provide access to the Web.com Tour for the season's top players."

Right now the European Tour has three events in China and the PGA Tour has one -- the recently-completed HSBC Champions.

Greg Norman, long a proponent of the sport of golf globally, weighed in and said he thinks this will accelerate a takeover of the game by Chinese golfers.

"The east will take over the west in the game of golf within a generation. When you have 1.4 billion people getting a taste of golf they will accelerate their progress."

Whatever the case, I think pushing the sport to the far corners of the planet can only be a good thing for golf.

For more golf news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnGolf and @KylePorterCBS on Twitter or Google+ and like us on Facebook.

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