Finchem in Asia this week seeking to strengthen PGA Tour ties with China

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Tim Finchem would like to see the PGA Tour play more official events in China and perhaps elsewhere in the Far East.
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Associated Press

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Published: Tuesday, November 02, 2010 | 6:14 p.m.

PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem embarks on a 10-day trip to Asia this week as he tries to strengthen his relationship with the China Golf Association with hopes of adding more tournaments.

In its second year as a World Golf Championship event, the PGA Tour has decided that the HSBC Champions will count as an official PGA Tour victory if the winner is a PGA Tour member.

On Sunday, Ben Crane won the inaugural CIMB Asia Pacific Classic, co-sanctioned with the Asian Tour but which counted only toward world ranking points, not official money.

Next up? That remains unclear.

“We’ll be meeting with some entities about a couple of tournaments we’re looking at in China in a couple of years,” Finchem said last week. “We’ll also be meeting in China with groups from two or three other countries about additional activities.

“We will be playing some more,” he said. “It’s premature to characterize it as what it will be. In today’s world, there’s lots of different ways for it to happen. If it’s a reasonably sized event, sanctioned appropriately, it can get world ranking points.”

The question is how the Fall Series will blend in with whatever tournaments are held in Asia. Earnings from the HSBC Champions do not count toward the PGA Tour money list.

There has been some speculation the Fall Series, and perhaps any tournaments in Asia, could get FedExCup points that would apply to the following season. Finchem dismissed the idea of the PGA Tour starting its new season before a new year.

“We’re not heading that direction right now,” he said.