PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem announced Sunday at the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai that a new developmental golf circuit will be launched in China next year.
PGA Tour China will feature 12 events, each with an expected field of 120-156 players, and will not be restricted to only Chinese players. Early purse estimates for each event are around $200,000 per tournament.
''We know from looking at the history of golf that the growth of the game is driven first and foremost by the development of elite players,'' Finchem said in his press conference. ''Having the opportunity to grow the elite players . . . will also translate into the acceleration of the growth of the game in China, which is in all of our interests.''
The PGA Tour will use a model similar to what it has used in Canada and Latin America, two circuits which the tour already owns.
The move will likely help drive even more interest to the 2016 Olympic Games to be held in Rio, especially among Chinese players.