The PGA Tour’s expansion into Asia continues. Scheduled for October 19-22, 2017, The CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges will carry a purse of US$9.25 million and will ensure a three-week Asian swing for the PGA Tour.
Already inked into the calendar for next year are the CIMB Classic in Malaysia and the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions in China.
Confirmation of the PGA Tour’s latest Asian foray will cause angst at the Asian Tour and European Tour, who entered a ‘strategic’ alliance this year. That link-up has clearly failed to dissuade the PGA Tour from further bolstering its presence in the region.
Jay Monahan, the PGA Tour’s Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer, said: “This announcement is a historic landmark for the PGA Tour as we add another tournament in Asia.
“We had such a phenomenal experience in Korea last year at The Presidents Cup, and we hoped an official, permanent event in this great country would be the result of that success.
“Partnering with a respected business leader like the CJ Corporation means this tournament will be on the Korean sports landscape for years to come. We have a tremendous population of Korean golfers on the PGA Tour, and we anticipate that will continue as The CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges inspires a new generation of players, not only in Korea, but also around the world.
“The addition of The CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges to our schedule gives us three strong tournaments in consecutive weeks in Asia, and they will play a significant role in shaping the early part of the FedEx Cup season and the FedEx Cup chase overall.”
The tournament will offer 500 FedEx Cup points to the winner. It will feature a field of 78 players, with 60 coming from the PGA Tour FedEx Cup points list. The remaining players, with many of the best Korean players represented, will come from a number of different exemptions to be named at a later date.
In 2016, 20 players from Korea had membership on either the PGA Tour or Web.com Tour. On the PGA Tour’s international-player roster, the 12 Korean members for the 2016-17 season is exceeded only by the 15 from Australia.
“Over the last 16 years, the CJ Group has been committed to and continues to develop the exciting sport of golf in Korea, not to mention, providing entertainment for the global golf community through the PGA and LPGA,” said CJ Corporation Chief Marketing Officer and Executive Vice President Kyeong Woo-kho.
“The contributions made by the CJ Group to this exciting game are twofold: one, hosting world-class golf events such as the first LPGA tournament in Korea, the CJ Nine Bridges Classic from 2002-2005, and the Asian Tour tournament CJ Invitational hosted by Korea’s legendary player KJ Choi from 2011-2013; secondly, discovering and investing in new upcoming golf talent in Korea and preparing them for the global stage. Since 2001, the CJ Group has sponsored 19 Korean golf talents, including the legendary Pak Se-ri.
“Moving forward, the CJ Group has high hopes in our next generation of players and will continue to scout and recruit new talent, especially in men’s golf.
“Promising prospects like Kim Si-woo, the youngest Korean PGA Tour winner at the Wyndham Championship, and An Byeong-hun, our Korean representative at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, are clear indicators of our next generation’s strength and promise. We believe that the new partnership with the PGA Tour for The CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges will establish itself as a key milestone for the golf industry in Korea and across the globe.”