China Announces Launch of New Pro Golf Tour

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BEIJING, China -- China on Tuesday launched its first professional golf tour to help create the country's own star golfers.
 
The China Golf Tour adds to a string of efforts to tap into a talent pool of 1.3 billion people and produce Chinese champions in sports ranging from weightlifting to Formula 1 racing.

The tour, organized by the China Golf Association, is to hold four events this year -- each with a $100,000 pool of prize money -- and expand by two events each year so that there will be at least 10 events in 2008.
 
'The future for golf in China -- the real, long-term future -- is not paying large sums to bring the world's superstars to play here. It is creating our own stars,' Jiang Xiuyun, the executive vice president of the association, said in a prepared statement.
 
The first event takes place Aug. 17-19 at the Elephant Golf Club in Beijing, the association said.
 
It said the other events this year are in September, October and November at locations yet to be announced.
 
China's most prominent golf pro is Zhang Lianwei, who became the first Chinese winner of a European Tour event when he beat Ernie Els by one stroke at the 2003 Singapore Masters.
 
'We need to create more stars that we ourselves can be proud of, stars that the Chinese people will flock to see and stars that will eventually play among the world's top golfers in the world's top tournaments,' Jiang said.
 
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