As we applaud another Ryder Cup filled with fine play and sportsmanship, we are reminded of golf's global expansion, a trend that those of us at PGA Tour headquarters embrace.
It was a year ago—Oct. 9, 2009—that golf was voted into the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. Although the Olympic initiative is bigger than any one organization and is a success that is shared universally by the golf community, the PGA Tour is proud of its leadership in getting that accomplished.
While there is a tremendous amount of preparation to be done over the next six years, the PGA Tour's international expansion continues during the interim. Later this month a significant two-week span in Asia begins with the debut of the CIMB Asia Pacific Classic in Malaysia, followed by the World Golf Championships--HSBC Champions in Shanghai.
China in itself represents a burgeoning market. The Omega Mission Hills World Cup, a biennial event, returns next year to Hainan Island. Off the course, the first of 180 planned PGA Tour stores in China recently opened in Beijing.
Additionally, through the Tour's growing relationship with the China Golf Association, the Chinese men's national team spent several weeks in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., training with our instructors at the Tour Academy at TPC Sawgrass in preparation for the upcoming Asian Games in Guangzhou, China. Following the team's stay, two of our instructors returned to China with the team to continue the training regimen and will remain through the competition in November.
I also would note the recent success of the Champions tour's new tournament in South Korea and the Nationwide tour's expansion into South America, with events in Panama and Colombia earlier this year.
Finally, the appetite for international team competition has spurred the steady growth of the Presidents Cup, which in turn has opened a number of possibilities for future sites.
Next year the Presidents Cup returns to Royal Melbourne, which in 1998 was the site of the International team's lone victory and a resounding success by every business measure. After a return to the U.S. in 2013, when the Presidents Cup will be held at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio, for the first time, the 2015 competition will be staged either in South Korea, Japan, India, South Africa or Argentina, which are all now going through the bidding process.
We believe initiatives that increase the visibility of and appreciation for the game will help our sport expand its positive influence and grow in an ever-changing global landscape.
GOLF PLUS will next appear in the Nov. 8 SPORTS ILLUSTRATED.