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PGA launch South American Tour for 2012

As golf prepares to join the Olympic pantheon once again in 2016 in Brazil, the PGA Tour is jumping on the global develop bandwagon with plans for a series of tournaments in South America next year.

Titled “PGA Tour Latinoamerica”, the tour will feature 11 events played in seven countries, with the bulk in South America but also taking in Mexico and Puerto Rico.

''This expansion into Latin America, when combined with what the Nationwide Tour has been able to accomplish in the region in recent years, is part of the natural progression for golf which continues to grow globally,'' PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem said.

''We see this as an opportunity to help in the further development of elite players across the region.''

Starting from September 2012 and ending in December, Mexico, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Peru will all play host to the new tour.

Currently Colombia is the only Latin American country with an event on the Nationwide Tour, but they will be joined next year by Chile.

So far the southern Americas have proved to be a fruitful breeding ground of professional players.
 
The PGA Tour is hopeful that this new initiative will create future stars to join the ranks of two-time major champion Angel Cabrera, Andres Romero and Jose Coceres of Argentina, Camilo Villegas of Colombia, Jhonattan Vegas of Venezuela and Carlos Franco of Paraguay.

''This potential pathway to the higher levels of professional golf is something that is an improvement for the players in the region,'' said Henrique Lavie, the commissioner of the Tour de las Americas.

Lavie will become executive director of the new Latin American tour, is slated to grow to 14 tournaments by 2013.

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