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    • Early schedule set for PGA TOUR China

    • The inaugural PGA TOUR China season opens in mid-April at Haikou Mission Hills. (Franklin/Getty Images) The inaugural PGA TOUR China season opens in mid-April at Haikou Mission Hills. (Franklin/Getty Images)

    BEIJING -- The dates and locations for six tournaments of the inaugural 2014 PGA TOUR China schedule have been announced.

    PGA TOUR China will feature 12 tournaments in 2014, beginning in April. The total purse of each tournament will be at least RMB 1,200,000 (just under $200,000 in current U.S. dollars). The Tour, which is sanctioned by the General Administration of Sport of China, was announced last November and developed in partnership between the China Golf Association (CGA), PGA TOUR and China Olympic Sports Industry Co., Ltd. (COSI).

    PGA TOUR China builds upon the PGA TOUR's longstanding relationship with the CGA, providing open competition and a quality tour for elite players from China and other countries and the opportunity to advance to the world stage. Similar to the NEC Series-PGA TOUR Latinoamérica and PGA TOUR Canada, PGA TOUR China provides access to the Web.com Tour -- the pathway to the PGA TOUR -- for the season's top players and awards Official World Ranking Points, which are the eligibility mechanism to participate in golf at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

    "We are very excited about the progress we have made together since announcing the launch of the new PGA TOUR China," PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem said. "We are pleased to be announcing six of our events for the year, and look forward to announcing the remaining six events in the near future. The interest from the Ministry of Sport, the China Golf Association, golf clubs and sponsors has been significant."

    The Tour season will begin the week of April 14-20 at Haikou Mission Hills Golf Club. After a week off, the Tour resumes April 28-May 4 at Henan Jinshalake Golf Club, then moves to Hubei Wuhan Yishan Golf Club the week of May 12-18. The next two tournaments will be June 2-8 at Shanghai Lanhai International Golf Club and June 9-15 at Beijing Pine Valley Golf Club.

    In addition to these first five tournaments on the Tour schedule, the tournament at Shandong Junding Golf Club is committed to the week of Sept 1-7.

    The remaining six tournaments will be announced at a later date. Tournament field sizes will range from 144 to 156 players.

    "Together with the PGA TOUR and COSI, we are making strong progress to build professional golf in China to the next level," said Zhang Xiaoning, Executive Vice President of the CGA. "The announcement of the initial portion of our PGA TOUR China 2014 schedule shows positive advancement toward our goals of advancing elite players from China to the global stage and developing a stronger Tour within China. It is certainly an exciting time for golf in China."

    PGA TOUR China will conduct two Q-Schools in March, with 20 players earning cards at each tournament. In addition to the 40 players who gain exempt membership through the Qualifying Tournaments, in the first year of the Tour the top 70 players from the 2013 Official CGA rankings receive exemptions for the Tour. Beyond that, fields will also include sponsor exemptions and Monday qualifiers, which will be open to international players, as well as opportunities for up to 10 players from each of the Web.com, NEC Series-PGA TOUR Latinoamérica and PGA TOUR Canada.

    Plans are under development for the Tour to receive strong media coverage for every tournament. Officials expect a full complement of news coverage, highlights and results in multiple media outlets and across multiple platforms, including television, digital, mobile and social. There are plans for a daily highlight television show for each day of competition, for partial live digital coverage of the competition and potential for selected live television coverage.

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