PGA Tour plans 'not imminent' for more Asia events

Daniel HICKS
1 / 2
Justin Thomas of the US plays his second shot on the 1st hole during the final round of the CJ Cup, at Nine Bridges on South Korea's Jeju Island, on October 22, 2017

Further new US PGA Tour events in Asia are a possibility, but commissioner Jay Monahan said Sunday that "to say something is imminent would be a miscalculation".

Monahan was asked by AFP if proposed changes to the calendar for 2018-19 to bring forward the season-ending Tour Championship would mean more events could be pencilled in for Asia.

"I can confirm that we will move the Players Championship to March and the PGA Championship to May from 2019. That does free some time in the fall," Monahan said.

"If you look at the future, the reason that we are putting so much resource into international markets is to prepare so that when an opportunity presents itself to expand we are in the right position.

"But to say something is imminent would be a miscalculation at this stage."

Monahan was speaking to media at the $9.25 million CJ Cup in South Korea which he hailed as a great success.

"We are thrilled with the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges, our first official PGA Tour event in South Korea an our third in Asia," said Monahan.

The CJ Cup is the second event of a three-week swing as the PGA Tour spreads its wings further into Asia. Last week it held the CIMB Classic in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and next week is the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai, China.

- Military presence -

World number four, and US PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas was co-leader after three rounds in the event which carries a massive first prize of $1,665,000 and 500 FedEx Cup points.

Ten of the world's top 30 made the journey to Korea to play in the elite 78-man event.

No big names withdrew due to security fears despite tensions being ramped up on the Korean peninsula this year.

South Korea is still technically at war with nuclear-armed North Korea, which recently fired a series of missiles over Japan and last month claimed to have tested a hydrogen bomb.

"Our security team has been in regular and daily communication with the appropriate authorities both in the United States and here in Korea," said the Tour's head of global operations Ty Votaw.

"You heard comments from several players earlier in the week how safety and security for them was not an issue. I think that everyone will take away from the week is just how good their experience in Korea has been."

There has been a large US military presence at the CJ Cup this week -- but only to help out with the tournament scoring.

A small army of service folk were drafted to Jeju Island from three US bases in mainland South Korea.

They have been having a great week accompanying each group of players and relaying the live scores from the course.