With 19 different nations represented at Country Club de Barranquilla this week, from four continents, golfers from all over the world have had the chance to enjoy the wonders of Colombia at the Pacific Rubiales Colombia Classic.
The Challenge Tour has long prided itself on the multi-national fields it provides and every year the net is widening, with the recent emergence of Koreans Byeong-hun An and Sihwan Kim, who have become the first from their nation to take up full Challenge Tour membership, once again proving the increased diversity.
The Tour, which provides a gateway to The European Tour that players such as Thomas Bjørn, Martin Kaymer and Ian Poulter have taken on the road to stardom, travels across the world in one of the furthest-reaching tours in world golf, from India, through Colombia, via Kenya, Russia, Kazakhstan not to mention a foray through the most beautiful countries in Europe.
On top of that, the TV production side of the Challenge Tour means that its tournaments are beamed to 150 million people across the world in the shape of the Challenge Series.
An, who became the youngest player to win the US Amateur Championship in 2009, believes that the melting pot of various cultures and nationalities is one of the reasons that the European branch of tours is fast spreading its wings further and further afield.
“You see nowadays a lot of European Tour guys doing well,” said the 20 year old. “It’s growing bigger and bigger and a lot of the tournaments are co-sanctioned with the Asian Tour, so I guess it’s worldwide – whereas the PGA Tour is just in the US.
“You also get a lot of European Tour fields that are better than the US PGA Tour – Abu Dhabi and tournaments like that. You get to travel a lot, it’s more exciting and you get different courses every week, so I think it’s a better experience all round.”The players this week have been right in the middle of the action as their Estelar hotel sits in central Barranquilla. They have passed on the hotel meals and ventured out into the city to experience the lively Colombian culture and the delicious foods. While the city is renowned for its lively nightlife, however, the players will have to wait until Sunday evening before they can let their hair down.
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