PGA Alliance keen for big push into China and India

It is no coincidence that the Professional Golfers Association (PGA) made a major development announcement on the eve of golf’s Olympic bid.

The PGA will aim to boost the development of golf in the world’s most populous countries – China and India – via its new set-up, the World PGA Alliance.

The announcement came a day before the start of the season’s final major tournament, the US PGA Championship at Hazeltine.

According to an AFP story, the plan involves youth development, education programmes and the sharing of knowledge. A key task is to lift the sport in areas catering to the needy.

Golf is trying to beat out several other sports for one of two spots in the Olympic Games. In this respect, the push into China, in particular, is significant.

China measures sporting success by the Olympics, which is why the country finished top of the medal standings at the 2008 Beijing Games.

China is also influential when it comes to admitting sports into the Olympic roster.

If a sport is in the Olympics, China will make sure they are good at it. This is one of the reasons world cricket officials are keen to develop their sport in the Middle Kingdom.

Indeed, they made a major breakthrough when cricket sixes was included in the next Asian Games in Guangzhou.

Golf is already an Asian Games fixture and an Olympic credential would certainly make Chinese sports leaders take the game more seriously.

In India, golf is already quite well established with a number of professionals, particularly Jeev Milkha Singh, enjoying success on the global tours. PGA Chief Executive Joe Steranka said:

“One of the reasons we formed the alliance is to help the China Golf Association, to channel our respective resources, to help China evolve. India’s PGA is in its very early stages.”

China and India are also important members of the Asian Tour, which has several professional events in those countries.

The Alliance, which came into existence only this week, is a joint venture between countries whose PGAs have been existence for the longest time. They are: America, Australia, Japan, South Africa, Sweden, Germany, Canada, Europe and Britain-Ireland.

Meanwhile, according to reports, golf and rugby sevens are favourites to win admission into the Olympics for the 2016 Games. The International Olympic Committee is also considering baseball, softball, squash, karate and roller sports.

The 15-member board will choose two sports and these must be ratified by the 106-member IOC assembly in Copenhagen in October.

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