The PGA Tour has not only expressed a desire to make the upper echelon of pro golf more accessible to a global pool of talent, but they've put their brand and business might in developing a pair of international developmental tours designed to foster those up-and-coming players on a path to the PGA Tour. They've done that with both PGA Tour Latinoamerica and PGA Tour China. However, the latter of the two was effectively dark in 2017.
Now with a new four-year deal with the China Golf Association in hand, PGA Tour China resumes in 2018 with a commitment, a larger schedule and more purses.
The PGA Tour China schedule will begin in spring 2018, with each event offering a prize purse of at least 1.5 million Yuan, or approximately $225,000 -- marking a 25 percent increase over purse floors from 2016. As has been the case with PGA Tours Latinoamerica and China, the top five money winners at season’s end will earn Web.com Tour membership for the following season. There will be at least 15 additional players who will have access to the latter stages of the Web.com Tour Q-School.
The announcement was made Wednesday at the WGC-HSBC Champions, where the series was first announced in 2014.
A pair of 2016 PGA Tour China graduates, Zecheng Dou and Xinjun Zhang became the first players from China to earn PGA Tour cards after finishing 17th and 21st on the Web.com Tour money list, respectively. Australia’s Brett Drewitt, another graduate of PGA Tour China, earned PGA Tour membership in 2016-17.
Haotong Li, world No. 66, is the most important PGA Tour China alum to date, ultimately parlaying his experience into a win on the European Tour at the 2016 Volvo China Open and shooting 63 in the final round of this year's British Open Championship to finish on the podium.
"PGA Tour China was really important for me," Li said, according to the Associated Press. "I grew up from nothing to playing the Web.com. It's a really good tour. It's helpful for China golf."