PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- As part of the PGA TOUR's ongoing relationship with the China Golf Association (CGA), the Chinese Men's National Golf Team has arrived for nearly three weeks of training at TPC Sawgrass in preparation for the 16th Asian Games in November in Guangzhou, China.
Seven players, accompanied by two coaches, one interpreter, one trainer and one official from the CGA, arrived on March 25 and began their training regimen at the TOUR Academy at TPC Sawgrass the following day. They are undergoing an evaluation in all phases of the game and in addition to extensive training, they will compete in matches against the University of North Florida, Jacksonville University and Flagler College men's golf teams, plus a group of area high school standouts. For these matches, they will be joined by several other Chinese players who currently are attending school in the U.S.
The golfers who are training at the TOUR Academy are: Zhang Xinjun, 23; Huang Wenyi, 27; Wei Wei, 28; Huo Wei, 27; Xiao Se, 22; Liu Yuanxiang, 16, and substitute Zhao Xiongyi, 19. The three Chinese players currently attending school in the United States who will join the team for the three matches are Duan Chenxiao, 18 (IMG Academy); Fu Zhongyang, 18 (Bradenton Prep Academy), and Lie Yanchi, 19 (IMG Academy, Post Grad). The Chinese National Team will remain in Ponte Vedra Beach through April 10 before returning to China. On Sunday, they attended the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard in Orlando and have a scheduled visit to the World Golf Hall of Fame.
"The visit to the U.S. presents a milestone of a new partnership between the CGA and PGA TOUR," said Pang Zheng, Vice Secretary of the CGA and Team Manager of the Chinese Men's National Golf Team. "We are convinced that partnership opportunities between the CGA and PGA TOUR will increase at larger scales as golf returns to the Olympics.
"The primary goal of this trip is to prepare for the Asian Games in Guangzhou this year, as well as to learn advanced training concepts and methodologies from the PGA TOUR," he continued. "This visit became reality thanks to the collaborative efforts and hard work from both sides. I believe it will have a positive impact in the long run. Especially I would like to thank the staff from the PGA TOUR, PGA TOUR Golf Course Properties, the TPC Sawgrass and The TOUR Academy for all the special arrangements and professional training preparation for our team."
David Pillsbury, President of PGA TOUR Golf Course Properties, said, "We are very excited about the opportunity to help these elite players from China prepare for the Asian Games through our state-of-art capabilities at the TOUR Academy and provide analysis and instruction through our outstanding instructional team. Golf's growth in China presents tremendous opportunities for the industry, and we couldn't be happier to be part of it. Once their visit is complete, we look forward to continuing instruction and provision of our expertise in China as the team prepares for the Asian Games in November."
Travis Fulton, Director of Education for TOUR Academies, said that once a thorough assessment is done on each player's full swing, short game, on-course management, equipment and fitness, "our hope is to provide a game plan that will allow each player to improve in all facets of the game. This entire process will begin over 2½ weeks at the TOUR Academy at TPC Sawgrass and will continue back in China. This is certainly an honor and a great opportunity for the TOUR Academy as we look forward to working with these very talented players."
Pang views this visit as an important step in collaboration between the CGA and PGA TOUR, as well as the U.S. "From a global perspective, the PGA TOUR needs to explore the huge potential of the golf market of China and China golf needs the top-notch expertise of the PGA TOUR," he said. "The cooperation will definitely bring a win-win solution to our mutual benefits.
"Hopefully, we will leverage the short-training in the US, and learn the expertise of training and management from the PGA TOUR. We hope to improve our technical and tactical skills and achieve desirable results at Asian Games in Guangzhou. In the meantime, we hope the visit will prompt the cultural exchange between China and the U.S., and promote mutual understanding of the two countries. Our goal is to further develop the sport with the PGA TOUR at the global arena."