PGA Tour China In Limbo, Golf's China Hopes Dimming

Thanks to reader John for Wayne Ma's WSJ story on the latest blow to golf's China hopes.

PGA Tour China has struggled with the business practices of its China operations partner and has also been unable to get Chinese tournaments approved for its upcoming season, due to begin in May.

The game was banned by Mao Zedong as a bourgeois pastime, and more recently nearly 200 golf courses have been closed amid President Xi Jinping’s campaign against corruption by government officials and ostentatious displays of wealth.

The PGA Tour came to China with high hopes, seeking to expand the game’s popularity and perhaps find a breakout star who could do for golf what Yao Ming did for basketball.

And there was this from Shanghai University professor Liu Dongfeng on China's Olympic aspirations likely not including golf.

Seeing the potential for economic returns, China is now moving to make sports more of a commercial enterprise, he said, phasing out the old system where a government office is paired with a quasi-government association.

Liu said soccer was the first sport to abolish its government office in 2015 and basketball appears to be next, with Yao this year becoming the first head of the China Basketball Association not drawn from government ranks.

“In terms of priority, golf is absolutely not on the agenda,” Liu said. “The prospect for golf is not very bright, unfortunately.”