Golf tournament organizer aims for second-tier cities
The PGA Tour, a US organizer of top professional golf tournaments, is planning to expand its presence to second-tier Chinese cities, despite a domestic austerity campaign that has cooled enthusiasm for the sport.
It plans to move into cities in Jiangsu, Shandong, Yunnan, Hainan and Fujian provinces, according to Gregory Gilligan, Greater China managing director of PGA Tour Inc.
“China is in the early stages of developing golf. We have started to see some momentum in the country, and we are bullish about long-term growth,” he said.
Gilligan said the Chinese antigraft campaign has slowed the golf market, but optimism has been voiced recently for corporate sponsorships for PGA Tour events.
Last year, between 1 million and 1.1 million people played golf in China, and there were 390,000 “core golfers”, defined as those playing the game at least eight times a year.