China Tour announces new structure as 2017 Season gets underway
Beijing, June 7: The new 2017 China Tour season will kick off at the St. Andrew Henan Open from June 8 to 11 this week.It is the 4th season of China Tour.
A total of 133 players from over 16 different countries will be vying for the prize purse of RMB1.35million (approximately US$198,000) when they tee off at the St. Andrews Golf Club’s Zhengzhou course on Thursday.
The official press conference of the St. Andrews Henan Open took place at the host venue on Wednesday morning, with officials announcing the tournament schedule for the year as well as other Tour related matters.Like what the organization had set out to accomplish at the beginning, the China Tour will continue to provide a professional, fair and impartial platform for all budding golfers in the region.
Officials who were present at the press conference include Wang Liwei, Vice-president of the China Golf Association;Pang Zheng, China Tour Council Secretary General;Ji nuo,General Counsel of China Tour Rugular season;Director of European Tour China Simon Leach;Henan Sports Management Center Assistant Director and Henan Golf Association Secretary Li Gang;Chairman of St Andrews(Zhengzhou) Golf Club,Fan Zhiqiang as well as Merit champion Zhang Huilin and three-time champion Josh Geary of New Zealand. Also in attendance at the press conference were European Tour Tournament Director Jose and Chief Referee Buddy.
New season an overall enhancement for China Tour
Wang Liwei, Vice-president of the China Golf Associastion, introduced the organizational structure of the association during the press conference and said the CGA has grown from strength to strength over the last three years. The CGA has developed a well-organised, professional and experienced team, adopting similar management system and ensuring a proper communication line as other golf organisations in the world.
“We hope this developed platform will provide a base for the players to grow their game and propel into the world stage,” said Wang. “The China Tour enjoyed a face lift in 2017 and this shows how determined our government wants to reform the Sports industry in China.
Wang expressed his delight that the China Tour has received immense support from leading golf Tours in the world. He welcomed the representatives from European Tour and thank the European Tour and Asian Tour in advance for their help in the new season ahead. Wang also thanked the PGA Tour for their technical support in their co-sanctioned events the last three years.
European Tour Director for China Simon Leach thanked the CGA for inviting him to the press conference. Leach said the European Tour has always maintained a good partnership with the CGA and he hopes the partnership will continue to grow in the long term. Leach believes China will be the core of professional golf in the future.
St. Andrews Golf Club continues to be a happy hunting ground for players on Tour
The St. Andrews Golf Club’s Zhengzhou course has been a happy hunting ground for players over the years. A lot of players have claimed their breakthrough victories on this course. Last year, 19-year-old Dou Zecheng secured his first win here before continuing to clinch three more titles in the year.
Henan Golf Club Association Secretary Li Gang talked about the development of golf in the Henan province and thanked the Henan Golf Promotion board, CGA, St. Andrews Golf Club for their long-term support.
St. Andrews Golf Club Chairman Fan Zhiqiang also expressed his joy, saying they have to support the China Tour as the St. Andrews Golf Club is the happy hunting ground of the players and it made sense that they give their utmost support. He joked: “I am looking forward to the battle between top seed Zhang and veteran Yuan Hao this week.”
China Tour looks to align its structure with leading golf Tours in the world
In the subsequent Media Q&A, Wang gave a detailed explanation on the China Tour’s vision in the new season. “The CGA is currently managed by a council, under the jurisdiction of the executive management, encompassing over 20 over positions in the organization,” said Wang. “We seek to deliver upon the vision of a seamless communication within the departments so we can ‘responsibly’ say that the management structure of the China Professional Golf Tour is exactly the same as the other leading Golf Tours in the world. We have proper procedures in place for sales and marketing, financial control, tournament operations, legal work, players administration, media publicity, etc. We believe this professional team will help the Tour to move forward in time to come.
“We see a mixture of familiar and new faces in the team in this new season but they are all professional individuals like China Tour-Rugular season CEO Ouyang Wen, General Counsel Ji Nuo, Head of Competitions Li Jin Liang and Director of Tournament Operation Max Yu. We welcome more talented in future,” Wang emphasized.
New season to provide players with more springboards to world stage
Pang Zheng, on the other hand, spoke about the details of the schedule and the entry criteria for players. “The China Tour has been through a lot of development over the years and presented to the world in different forms during different periods. This year, the China Tour will undergo an innovative reform in two different ways through our regular tournaments and our co-sanctioned tournaments. These tournament structures will bring out the power of our own National brand and symbolize the improvement of our intellectual property rights,” said Pang Zheng.
“In this new schedule, we have a total of 12 different stops and each tournament offers not less thanUS$200,000 in prize money on average. These will hopefully help the China Tour gain the Official World Golf Ranking status in the near future and provide a strong foundation for the Tour to advance onto the world stage.
On the international level, we have already forged strong ties with the European Tour and the Asian Tour. The China Tour Order of Merit champion this season will also gain a full card on the European Tour next season. He will be ranked in Category 16 on the European Tour in the new season. Players ranked second to fourth on the final Order of Merit will be exempted into the second stage of the Qualifying School while players ranked fifth to ninth earn exemptions in the final stage of the Asian Tour Qualifying School.
We seek mutual respect in our partnerships with the European Tour and the Asian Tour. We hope it will be mutually beneficial to both as well. We will continue to fight for more benefits for our players, providing a strong foundation which will propel them onto the world stage,” Pang added.
China Tour to strictly protect rights and benefit in new season
General Counsel Ji Nuo is the new face on board the China Tour Rugular season this year. He believes the legal aspects of the tournaments in the new season have been of the highest standards on Tour so far. This is to protect the rights and benefits of all parties involved, thereby helping the Tour progresses. “First of all, legal support is important and inseparable in all Sports Organisations. Secondly, it shows the rapid growth and revolution of the sports industry in China. These are the two reasons why legal support is widely needed in the market today. My job scope includes not only the daily operations work, but also ensuring that the Tour operates according to the legal compliances. This will protect the branding and reputation of the China Tour and in the long term, I think these two other points will be key. The first thing is to ensure the rights and obligations of all event participants, including the rights and needs of players, host venue, sponsors, promoters and media, etc. We need to safeguard the interest of all these parties so as to ensure the development of the sport. I am sure a Tour that is legally compliant will attract more sponsors and interested parties. I hope my addition to the Tour will help facilitate the growth and success of the Tour.
This week, the 2017 China Tour season will kick off at the St. Andrew Henan Open. Player registrations are in progress for the next two events on the schedule. The China Tour’s second stop will be at the Fragrance Hills International Golf Club Beijing Open from June 19 to 25 while the third tournament will be the Changbai Shan Wanda Open which gets underway from June 26 to July 2. Players can start to register for the tournaments and the Monday qualifiers on the official China Tour website.