Rough time in Portugal and China


Louis Oosthuizen

The European Tour members are active on both sides of the pond. Some thirty of them, the best listed on the World’ Rankings, are contesting The Players, nicknamed 5th Major, and its $1’890’000 first prize. After 36 holes, Louis Oosthuizen leads the pack, with Jon Rahm and Cabrera Bello for Spain, Ian Poulter, Alex Noren, all European Tour Members, appear in the Top 10. With $10,5 millions at stake, no headache to understand why none of them decided to play the Portuguese Open in the Algarve to share 500’000 Euros… No contest. But it brings to our mind the future of the European Tour after the launch of the Rolex Series division, reuniting eight important tournaments, each with a $7.5 million purse. To summarize the situation, compared to a Rolex Series event, many of the other opens on the European program will appear like a Portuguese Open. How long their organisations and sponsors will accept these discrepancies?
What’s on in the Algarve? Matt Wallace held a commanding five-shot lead when darkness put a stop to play on day two of the weather-affected Portuguese Open at the Morgado Golf Resort.

Matt Wallace, leader after two rounds

First-round leader Matt Wallace fired six birdies in his opening 14 holes on Friday to get to 16 under par and stay bogey-free for the tournament so far. He held a commanding five-shot lead when darkness put a stop to play on day two of this weather-affected open.
First-round leader Wallace fired six birdies in his opening 14 holes on Friday to get to 16 under par and stay bogey-free for the tournament so far. Sebastian Heisele was alone in second on 11 under after carding three birdies and a single bogey in the first 12 holes of his second round. Matthieu Pavon and Ashley Chesters were the leaders in the clubhouse on nine under after producing second round scores of 69 and 71 respectively. Home favourite José-Filipe Lima was among the large group on eight under after following up his opening 67 with a 71 on Friday. Play was scheduled to resume at 8.00am on Saturday morning.

Li Hao Tong, best Chinese player in the world’s rankings

The problems are plenty for the Chinese PGA Tour, the governing powers blocking so far the projected events of the 2017 pro season has recently reported The Wall Street Journal. The four-year-old developmental tour (twelve events in 2016) is in jeopardy, the PGA Tour fellows and the official China Golf Association being on diverging paths.

Whatever the experts say on this side of the world, golf isn’t at its best nowadays in China. We all know the enormous development of golf in the Shenzhen region next to Hong Kong or on the coastline of Hainan Island. At the same time, over 200 courses were torn down having been built without any permit. The reason of such a disgrace is linked to the endless fight of the reigning President Xi Jinping against corruption. And finally, if Chinese golf accounts for some three millions players, a big number anywhere, it’s a very small figure in this country of 1.4 billion people.
Whilst the European Tour still runs a couple of tournaments in Shanghai, the American PGA Tour hasn’t renewed its agreement with the Chinese Golf Association, and the China Pro season was to begin on May 9th. ET/PPH