The Asian Tour pulled off a coup signing a strategic partnership with the China Golf Association (CGA) that will open up a lot of new events for the Asian Tour members. The Asian Tour previously co-sanctioned and staged tournaments in China with the CGA from 1995 until 2008 and now the coming together of these bodies could open new vistas in the region. Chinese legend Zhang Lian-wei enjoyed success when the CGA was previously with Asian Tour. He had five victories on the Asian Tour. Under this new collaboration, the CGA and Asian Tour plan to stage up to four new events in China this year where earnings will count towards the Asian Tour Order of Merit and the China Tour Order of Merit. Golfers from the China Tour will be eligible to take up associate memberships with the Asian Tour, with the top-five non-exempt players from the China Tour Order of Merit receiving exemptions into the Final Stage of the Asian Tour Qualifying School in 2018. Winners of these new co-sanctioned tournaments in China will also earn their exemption on the Asian Tour under the winner's category. The prize purses of the new events will range from USD 300,000 to USD 500,000 and more CGA and Asian Tour co-sanctioned tournaments will be staged from 2018 and beyond. Mr. Wang Liwei, Vice President of China Golf Association said: "On behalf of the CGA, we are delighted to announce our new and exciting partnership with the Asian Tour.
The last time the CGA worked with the Asian Tour was back in 2008. "We welcome the Asian Tour back to China and look forward to co-sanctioning a number of tournaments so as to develop the game of golf in China and also in Asia." Asian Tour CEO Josh Burack expressed his delight with the milestone partnership with the CGA and believes it will further develop golf in China and across the region. "We are honoured to forge a strategic partnership with the CGA which is truly a significant development for professional golf in Asia. "The CGA has been fantastic in sharing their vision to grow the game in China which is aligned to our own mission to do the same in China and across Asia as a whole. "Re-starting cooperation is a game changer for the Asian Tour and CGA as the creation of new tournaments will greatly enhance playing opportunities for our players and for the many talented players coming up from China. Winners of these new tournaments in China will receive their playing cards on the Asian Tour, which also open up their pathways through the many tournaments we co-sanction with other Tours. "The Asian Tour is very enthusiastic to work with the CGA again as this partnership is going to benefit the players tremendously." As a member of the International Federation of PGA Tours, the Asian Tour has been a sanctioning partner of the WGC-HSBC Champions, which takes place annually in Shanghai and is the only World Golf Championships event staged in Asia. Until now, this was the only Asian Tour sanctioned event in China. Zhang, a committee member of the CGA and board member of the Asian Tour said: "I'm delighted the China Golf Association has entered into this strategic partnership with the Asian Tour. I started my career on the Asian Tour and it has given me lots of opportunities to grow and improve as a player.
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