Golf Is The World’s Game

As I was writing over the weekend about the ISPS Hansa Women’s Australian Open and looking forward to the Honda LPGA Thailand, it struck me just how much professional golf has become a global game. It has also greatly expanded my bucket list of places to play.

This year, the LPGA will play tournaments in fourteen different countries: the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Thailand, Singapore, Scotland, France, China, South Korea, Malaysia, The Bahamas, Taiwan and Japan. It is truly a global tour played in some spectacular settings. Images from the Siam Country Club, where this week’s Honda LPGA Thailand is played are stunning:

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Siam Country Club

On the Men’s side, the European Tour has existed since 1972, but has in recent years expanded with events in the Middle East and Asia. The exposure gained by the Emirates with European Tour events has, I am certain, changed a lot of minds about the possibilities of desert golf.

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Abu Dhabi golf

The Sunshine Tour of South Africa has several events co-sanctioned by the European Tour, and seeing those courses on the Golf Channel puts South Africa high on my list of places to play.

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East London Golf Club, South Africa

Aside from the spate of European Countries, the European Tour plays in South Africa, the Arab Emirates, India, Malaysia, Morocco, South Korea, China and Australia.

The PGA Tour of Australasia plays in both Australia and New Zealand. With courses like Cape Kidnappers, New Zealand is making a name for itself in golf.

The regular PGA Tour still is US oriented, traveling only to Puerto Rico (a US territory, to be sure), Canada, Mexico and China (WGC event). The Web.Com Tour, on the other hand, has stops in Panama, Columbia, Chile, Brazil and Mexico.

In additon, the PGA Tour has since 1012 offered the PGA TOUR LatinoAmerica, which this year will hold events in Columbia, Brazil, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Chile, Peru and Argentina. If any of these get broadcast time, they are sure to draw some eyeballs with the scenery.

Golf In Argentina

Finally, there’s the curious case of the defunct-but-risen Canadian Tour. Last year, the Canadian Tour was given a significant loan and logistical support by the PGA TOUR in an effort to keep it alive. By the end of the season, however, the PGA TOUR had absorbed the Canadian Tour entirely. It is now the PGA TOUR Canada.

Canada probably is not a country that people think of as a premier golf location, but it has some spectacular courses. Places such as Banff are internationally known, but it also has some beautiful local courses, such as Loch March Golf in Ottawa. Canada is just an hour from GolfBlogger World Headquarters, so I may play my first international golf there.

Loch March, Ottawa, Canada

The side benefit of that is that I could enjoy a few Cuban cigars while in that country.

With the addition of the PGA TOURS Canada and LatinoAmerica, the PGA Tour has become a multi-continental entity that actually plays in more countries outside its core area than the European Tour. (Assuming you count Europe as a single entity. If you count every individual European country, then it’s quite a different story. At that point, however, you should also count every single US state, since many of those are larger than European countries in both population and land mass).

Any way you slice it, though, golf is increasingly becoming the world’s game.

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