The European Tour has announced the opening of its new South Korea Office which will help to grow the game of golf in the country and further develop the European Tour’s global brand.
Located in the same building as Korean Professional Golfers Association (KPGA) in the country’s capital Seoul, the office launch has been overseen by Ben Cowen, who last week became the European Tour’s new Director of International Policy. Cowen previously held the position of Deputy Director of International Policy under Keith Waters, who will now focus solely on his role as the European Tour’s Chief Operating Officer.
The South Korea office will be managed by BJ Song, currently of the KPGA, who will report directly into Cowen. He will work alongside the KPGA to develop the European Tour business in Korea, with the aim of reintroducing an event on the Race to Dubai - the country having previously hosted the Ballantine’s Championship for six consecutive seasons from 2008-2013.
The office opening is a particularly timely one with South Korea enjoying an unprecedented run of success on the European Tour so far in 2016, following victories for Soomin Lee and Jeunghun Wang in three events in the space of four weeks. It also coincides with Korea’s World Number 27 Byeong Hun An returning to Wentworth Club last week, where the European Tour has its headquarters, to defend his title at the BMW PGA Championship.
Song will be looking to build on the success of this trio on the global stage as well as the achievements of other Korean players on the European Tour, including YE Yang, who in 2009 became Asia’s first Major Champion when he held off Tiger Woods to win the US PGA Championship at Hazeltine National, venue for this year’s Ryder Cup.
Keith Pelley, Chief Executive of the European Tour, said: “The launch of our new South Korea office could not have been more impeccably timed following Soomin Lee’s victory in Shenzhen and Jeunghun Wang’s back-to-back wins in Morocco and Mauritius which took Korea’s total number of wins on the European Tour to 11.
“With the global achievements of other Korean players such as 2015 BMW PGA Champion, Byeong Hun An, we are seeing men’s golf in Korea starting to replicate the success of the female game and we are keen to help grow the game in the country, working alongside the KPGA.
“Similarly, we are also hoping to develop the European Tour brand in this important market. It is three years since we last staged an event in Korea and our new office in Seoul will be tasked with looking into business opportunities in Korea to help us host another event in the near future.”
Yang Hwee Boo, Chairman of the KPGA, said: “We are delighted to host the European Tour South Korea Office in the KPGA building in Seoul. This will help us to build a stronger relationship with our colleagues at the European Tour. Through this office, and the expertise of BJ Song, we hope to develop new tournament opportunities in South Korea for both the European Tour and the KPGA, which will definitely help the growth of the men's game in our country.”
The European Tour already has a presence in Korea through its relationship with Golf Digest Korea, which last year became the Official Media Partner to the European Tour in Korea. As part of the association, Golf Digest Korea now publishes an entire section of European Tour content in each monthly edition, giving golf fans in Korea in-depth coverage of The Race to Dubai on The European Tour, as well as the latest developments on the European Senior Tour, the European Challenge Tour and The Ryder Cup.
The South Korean office is the sixth European Tour office to open globally. In addition to its headquarters at Wentworth Club, in Virginia Water, England, the European Tour also has offices in Dubai, Spain, Hong Kong and most recently China, following the opening of the Beijing Office in 2014.