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September 10, 2009

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Norman sees phenomenal China growth

TWICE major champion Greg Norman thinks China will lead the growth and development of golf for the foreseeable future and that will only be good news for the game.

Since the first course in the modern era was opened in 1984 on Chinese mainland, the game has enjoyed meteoric growth and there are now more than 250 operating with anything up to 1,000 planned.

Former world No. 1 Norman was reported earlier this year to be in talks to design up to 20 courses in China and clearly sees the world's most populous country as a rich source of business in the future.

"I have been coming here for a short period of time in my business career, but for me to see the development of golf in China has been phenomenal," the 54-year-old, who visited China this week, said in a news release.

"I think it is great that from a global aspect China is at the forefront; they are leaders of the pack in the growth and development of the game. I think it will stay that way for many, many years to come."

Norman was visiting the 180-hole Mission Hills golf complex in Shenzhen, where he designed one of the 12 layouts and which will host the US$5.5 million World Cup of Golf for the third successive year in November.

"I remember one of my goals in 1976 was to be the youngest, I believe, and the quickest player to make the Australian World Cup team. It was a goal of mine right from the get-go to represent my country," said the 1986 and 1993 British Open champion.

"No matter where you go and play as an individual in a tournament you do represent your country. But to actually carry your flag for your country with a partner in the World Cup is an extremely high prize in my mind."


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