The Loop

Asia rising

March 10, 2009

Asia's standing in the golf world continues to expand, to the extent that one prominent agent, Chubby Chandler, wonders whether the Asian Tour will soon supplant the European PGA Tour as the No. 2 tour in the world.

"They've already got the resources and the courses," Chandler tells Derek Lawrenson of the Daily Mail. "In a few years, they'll also have a group of players you can build a circuit around, so why would they need Europe?"

Lawrenson writes: "If that sounds like hyperbole, then think of what happened on the two main American circuits on Sunday, where both the men's and women's events were won by Koreans. Danny Lee and Anthony Kim, two of the world's best young players, are also of Korean descent, and then there's Japan's 17-year-old Ryo Ishikawa."

South Koreans Y.E. Yang and Jiyai Shin won the Honda Classic and the HSBC Women's Champions last weekend.

South Korea already plays a dominant role on the LPGA and five LPGA events are now played in Asia. Then there's this story on Korea's men, whose success is slowly beginning to catch up with that of Korean women. There, too, is China's growing influence in the game, as reported last year by Golf World's Ron Sirak.

It might not rate as a new world order, but it has momentum in that direction.

-- John Strege