The European Tour has had discussions with China’s new mega golf event, the Lake Malaren Shanghai Masters, about the possibility of its joining the leading men’s professional golf tour in Europe.
PGA European Tour sales and marketing executive Ben Cowen flew to the Lake Malaren Shanghai Masters to meet with the event’s founder, Chinese billionaire Shi Jian, and his son, tournament executive director Janson Shi.
Right now the $5 million tournament is not sanctioned by any tour, which is why no ranking points were awarded at the inaugural tournament. However, the event attracted a strong field, including US Open winner Rory McIlroy who received the main prize of $2 million.
The megadollar tournament put into the shade the sanctioned HSBC Champions event that was staged in the same city a week earlier.
Ben Cowen said that the Lake Malaren Shanghai Masters which was also called a “vanity” event by Asian Tour chairman Kyi Hla Han would gain a lot from joining a major tour.
The European Tour’s opinion is different from the US PGA whose long-time commissioner Tim Finchem said that the tour was not planning on sanctioning any other events in Asia next year.
The Shi family claims that they don’t mind keeping their tournament “special” until it is gets sanctioned. According to rumors, the purse of next year’s tournament will amount to $8 million.