Dec
15
2009
Speculating on Fall Series Events Moving to Asian Soil
By Stephanie Wei under General

In November Commissioner Tim Finchem embarked on an 18-day trip to Asia to meet with current and potential sponsors, suggesting he was looking to increase the Tour’s global presence. Earlier this month Golfweek reported the PGA Tour and Asian Tour will co-sanction the Asia Pacific Golf Classic in Malaysia next season. While the event’s date hasn’t been officially announced, sources tell GolfWeek that it will be played October 28-31, the week prior to the HSBC Champions and amidst the Tour’s Fall Series schedule.

But according to Adam Schupak’s report, Joe Ogilvie predicts those end-of-year events will soon be played abroad:

“The Fall (events) will eventually all be Asia, maybe the Frys.com Open (which moves to California next year) will survive. But otherwise, it will be all Asia,” said Ogilvie, emphasizing that this was only his opinion and not fact obtained through his role on the Tour’s Player Advisory Council.

Ogilvie envisions “an Australian sanctioned event next, then one with Japan, maybe something in Hong Kong and Korea. That’s where the growth is and from a television-rights standpoint that’s where all the money is going to be. Asia, Asia, Asia.”

With golf’s growing popularity in countries like China, not to mention the potential millions in sponsorship money floating around, Ogilvie’s theory — if he’s correct — makes plenty of sense, and a shrewd business move. (Looks like the Tour is following in the LPGA’s footsteps with adding more international events to expand their worldwide presence. But unlike the LPGA, the PGA has a full schedule on American soil.)

Question: Does this mean the Fall Series will be defunct? Many players competing aren’t the marquee players — sure, there are big names in the field, but those events seem to largely serve as an opportunity for the guys who are on the bubble of finishing in the top-125 on the money list to move up and keep their Tour cards for the following season. Now I realize that most of them make a good enough living to afford the travel expenses, but how about the guys who are further down the list? And will the tournaments be more exclusive and limited to the top-something players? Well, I guess we don’t know yet. Hopefully it’s a win-win situation for the most part, and perhaps some of the elite players will compete if the Fall Series becomes more prestigious. More Americans playing internationally isn’t necessarily a bad thing either.

[Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images AsiaPac]