Asia swing unlikely as PGA Tour weighs going to western U.S.

DUBLIN, Ohio – The PGA Tour first started going to Asia in 2009 with the HSBC Champions, a World Golf Championship. Since then, it added events in Malaysia and South Korea, and then Malaysia gave way to the Zozo Championship in Japan, which Tiger Woods won last year.

This strange year of the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to mean no Asia swing at all.

China announced last week it was canceling all sporting events for the rest of 2020 except for trials related to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. The HSBC Champions is said to have little interest in moving, mainly because the acronym stands for Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corp. It’s all about the market it serves.

As for the other Asia events?

China says it will not stage any international sports for the rest of the year, including the WGC-HSBC Champions and LPGA Shanghai.

The Tour has begun exploring the idea of moving each to the western part of the United States for this fall only.

Even if the coronavirus situation is stable in Asia by the fall, it’s unlikely many of the top players would build a trip to the Far East into their schedules just a few weeks before the Masters on Nov. 12-15.

Any move was described as being a long way off.

Two people aware of the talks said one possibility for the Zozo Championship was Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, California. That’s where Woods previously held his World Challenge in December, and it was recently the site of a PGA Tour Champions event.

The CJ Cup in South Korea is scheduled for the week after Las Vegas, leading to speculation the PGA Tour would look into staying in Vegas for two weeks.

The people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the discussions are in the early stages, and other sites are under consideration depending on the title sponsors.

The Asia Swing last year had quite a trio of winners – Justin Thomas (CJ Cup), Woods (Zozo) and Rory McIlroy (HSBC).



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