PGA TOUR increases commitment in China with Gilligan hiring

August 12, 2013

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – The PGA TOUR today announced the hiring of Greg Gilligan, an experienced executive who has been based in China the past 16 years, as Vice President, Managing Director of PGA TOUR’s affiliate in China, PGA TOUR (Beijing) Management Consulting Co Ltd. In this newly created role, Gilligan will help the PGA TOUR to increase its efforts in China, which will include working cooperatively to support the continued growth of golf in China, deepening and broadening the PGA TOUR’s relationships and advancing the TOUR’s business throughout the country.

Gilligan is scheduled to join the PGA TOUR team next month. He is a former McDonald’s executive in China who for the past three years has held the position of Managing Director for APCO China, a global communication, stakeholder engagement and business strategy firm. Fluent in Mandarin Chinese, Gilligan also currently serves as the Chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China, which is comprised of 3,800 members from 1,250 member companies.

“We consider China to be an important market for golf and the PGA TOUR and believe this is the right time to make an increased commitment to the marketplace,” said TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem. “We have a history of doing business in China, dating back to playing the World Cup in Shenzhen in 1995. We know that establishing a consistent presence in Beijing will enhance our existing business relationships and help to establish new ones and we look forward to working with all stakeholders in growing the game of golf in China.

“Finding the right executive to oversee these efforts was critical,” Finchem continued. “In order for us to maximize the potential of our efforts in China, we needed to identify an executive who has extensive experience in China, understands the culture and business practices, and has the ability to help ensure our investment and resources there are put to the best use for China golf. Greg Gilligan possesses all of these qualities. We are delighted that he has agreed to head up our efforts in China.”

Gilligan will work directly with the TOUR’s International Business Affairs group and the Global Commerce group and will consult across all functions and teams (e.g. International Media, Sponsorship, Retail Licensing, TPCs etc.) of the PGA TOUR.

Prior to joining APCO China, Gilligan spent 14 years as an executive with McDonald’s China, serving the last four as General Manager, Corporate Affairs.

“I am excited about joining the PGA TOUR team to lead our efforts in China,” Gilligan said. “There is tremendous potential for golf in China, and we are going to be supportive of that growth opportunity.  I can’t wait to get started to continue to build on the momentum that is already established.”

The PGA TOUR has established relationships in China and is looking to expand them. The PGA TOUR is responsible, with the International Federation of PGA Tours, for the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions and previous World Cups that were held in China. The PGA TOUR also has a collaborative relationship with the China Golf Association (CGA).  One example of that is the program where the TOUR works actively with the Men and Women’s Chinese national golf teams to support their training, including multiple visits to the TPC Sawgrass facility to receive instruction.

The TOUR also has multiple existing broadcast partners in China and a digital partnership with SINA Corporation. A retail licensing agreement has established nearly 40 PGA TOUR-branded stores in China, with more planned. Additionally, in April of this year, the TOUR and Bose Corporation announced sponsorship agreement for category rights in China, marking the first official corporate sponsorship the TOUR has made specific to China.