China to Host WGC Events

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CHANDLER'S CROSS, England -- The PGA TOUR finally found a way to get into China, announcing Tuesday that Mission Hills Golf Club will host the World Cup in 2007-08, then stage a World Golf Championship every year through 2018.
 
PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem said he took care of three objectives with one contract. It puts a WGC event in China, something the tour has worked on for more than a year; it brings PGA TOUR level golf to Asia in an official capacity; and it keeps the World Cup alive.
 
There are still details to work out.
 
Mission Hills wants a full-fledged WGC Event, such as a stroke-play tournament, but part of that might hinge on finding a corporate sponsor that would move the World Cup around the globe. Finchem did not say when the WGC event in China would be played in 2009 because of so many moving parts on the golf calendar.
 
Either way, it allows the tour to escape criticism of playing all the WGC events in America.
 
The Accenture Match Play Championship (Tucson, Ariz.), the CA Championship (Miami) and the Bridgestone Invitational (Akron, Ohio) all are locked in through 2010. But that still leaves Europe, Africa and Australia without a WGC until at least 2011, if not longer.
 
'We're not entirely happy that all the events are being played in America,' European Tour chief George O'Grady said.
 
O'Grady was diplomatic in saying that it was not vital for a WGC to come to Britain because it has the British Open every year, and the European Tour has some tournaments with the strongest field in golf that week, such as the Dubai Desert Classic.
 
Finchem has said golf is growing around the world through these WGC events because of television.
 
O'Grady agreed, but not entirely.
 
'There is a view that the international televising of these World Golf Championships takes the message across the world,' O'Grady said. 'I think it takes a very American message, and that is one that we would do well to be concerned about.'
 
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