PGA TOUR GOES GLOBAL DEVELOPMENTAL SEASONS BEGIN
Players from across the world are set to compete for f coveted spots on the Web. com Tour.
The last time the three PGA TOUR international developmental tours were all in action at the same time was September 1-4 in 2016. The Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada was holding the Cape Breton Open, the Yulongwan Yunnan Open was taking place in China and PGA TOUR Latinoamerica's Flor de Cana Open was making its debut in Nicaragua.
With PGA TOUR Series-China not playing in 2017, this is the year all three Tours are back playing, storylines abounding for all three as alums from each Tour continue to use the path provided to get to the Web.com Tour and, eventually, the PGA TOUR.
By the time this season draws to a close at these Tours' final events, the Web.com Tour will welcome 15 new players likely more than that if you consider those who will qualify via the Tour's Qualifying Tournament to its 2019 membership rolls. A bunch of guys already have experienced that feeling.
Tony Finau is one of them. The former Mackenzie Tour player, who played in Canada in 2013, has not been outside the top 50 in the OWGR since the TOUR Championship last September.
Xinjun Zhang and Zecheng Dou are two of them. The former PGA TOUR Series-China players became the first players from China to hold PGA TOUR membership when they both emerged from the 2017 Web. com Tour Regular Season money list to secure their PGA TOUR cards for 2017-18.
Mackenzie Hughes is also one of them. The Canadian was the first Order of Merit winner on the Mackenzie Tour, in 2013 (how's that for a marketing strategy?), and he's won at every level since on the Web. com Tour and the PGA TOUR at the 2017 RSM Classic.
The group of players who have earned Web.com Tour cards is also quite cosmopolitan in nature. Countries the world over are represented by these players who advanced to the Web.com Tour. Canada, Chile, Spain, Chinese Taipei, England, Mexico, China, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Guatemala, New Zealand, Brazil, Argentina, Australia and South Korea have all sent players to the next rung of the ladder that is PGA TOURaffiliated golf.
“I think our goal is to develop world-class talent in markets around the world. That's why we made the investments that we have made in the Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada, PGA TOUR Latinoamerica and PGA TOUR China,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan. “And for us looking at the success that graduates have had as they have moved forward is something we're proud of. It benefits the game at the highest level when you have players from major markets around the world who are approaching stardom; it gives us an opportunity to raise the profile of our great game in their home countries.”
This season, the Mackenzie Tour will, as it always does, conduct its tournaments between June and late-August. There are 13 events on this year's schedule. PGA TOUR Latinoamerica will hold 18 tournaments in two distinct halves of its season, from March to June and then from August to late-November. PGA TOUR SeriesChina, which opened its season at the Chengdu Championship in mid-March, the same week as PGA TOUR Latinoamerica's Guatemala Stella Artois Open, concludes the year in late-October in Hong Kong, at the Clearwater Bay Open.
PGA TOUR Series-China bears watching this season, as it returns to action after a one-year hiatus. With the sports landscape in China changing, the PGA TOUR, which owns and operates all three international developmental tours, wanted to ensure that the PGA TOUR Series-China was in alignment with the China government's Ministry of Sport. Now that it is, with the full support of the China Golf Association, PGA TOUR Series-China returns as a popular part of China' s Chin as China' s sporting landscape. landscape. landscape
“We have always taken the long view on our commitment here, and if we can unlock the largest country and the largest market in the world and we can inspire future generations and hopefully young people are watching these two stars and other stars as we go forward we think that that's a wonderful thing for the best game on the planet,” Monahan said at the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions a year ago. “While we've played this Tour for three years, our commitment to China and golf in China and developing the game in China with our partnership with the [China Golf Association] goes back bac to 1995 when we brought the World Wo Cup here.”
Monahan M was speaking of that World Wo Cup in Shenzhen at Mission Hills Hill Golf Club, the first time a PGA TOUR-sponsored TOU event had gone to China, C a tournament won by the U.S. team of Fred Couples and Davis Dav Love III.
How H Monahan feels about China is a similar feeling he has about Latin Lat America and what PGA TOUR TOU Latinoamerica can mean in that t part of the world. Since 2011, 201 the Tour has been playing throughout Latin America, with stops in Jamaica and Miami, not exactly Latin America but in the neighborhood, now sprinkled in as the Tour continues to grow.
“We are an established Tour with a great reputation in Latin America. We have so many great partners in each of the countries where we play, and they have helped facilitate the growth and success we've experienced,” said Jack Warfield, a golf-industry veteran who for years was the tournament director for the World Cup of Golf before accepting his current position with the PGA TOUR. “I love the cities where we hold tournaments, and I am so impressed by the golf courses and the different challenges they present our players during the course of a season. When I think about areas of the world where the sport of golf can grow both with fans and with the development of players, there is no place I would rather be than in Latin America.”
Golf is a worldwide game now and has been for some time, with the TOUR's three international developmental tours proving that point.
Xinjun Zhang of China.