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Lake Malaren Golf Club Shanghai News
November 21, 2011
Lake Malaren Shanghai Masters could get European Tour sanction
Courtesy of Sport24
In the wake of its stunning success with the inaugural Shanghai Masters, the European Tour has held talks with Lake Malaren officials about converting the Shanghai Masters from an unofficial event into a Tour-sanctioned tournament. Lake Malaren is the first Jack Nicklaus Legacy Course to open in Asia.
Ben Cowan, the tour's deputy director of international policy, met the tournament's founder, developer Shi Jian, as well as his son and executive director Janson Shi, just before the HSBC Champions in late October.
"We visited the Lake Malaren Shanghai Masters last week where the venue facilities and presentation of the event were certainly impressive," said Cowan.
"If the European Tour were to be officially asked to sanction the event in the future we would certainly consider the opportunity as we would any other potential event," he said.
The Lake Malaren event is currently not sanctioned by any major tour, meaning it carries no rankings points for players. Despite its unofficial status, the event drew a top-quality field for last month's $5 million inaugural edition, which included a whopping first prize of $2 million, picked up by US Open champion Rory McIlroy of Ireland.
The flashy new tournament took some of the gloss off the more established and multi-sanctioned HSBC Champions, which took place a week later in the same city.
Cowan said that Lake Malaren would be boosted by joining an established tour.
"The event would clearly benefit were it to be integrated into the organizational structure of professional golf and therefore receive world ranking points," he said.
The Shis are happy to keep their event "special" until it is established, and it is rumored the purse will be increased up to $8 million next year–putting it alongside the sport's richest tournaments.
"But we are hoping we will get approached by one of the tours and sanctioned, maybe as early as next year. It is our plan," Janson Shi said.
*Reported from http://www.sport24.co.za