September 14 - The PGA Tour, who operate the main professional golf tours in the United States, are planning to take advantage of the sport's return to the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 by expanding its popularity to South and Latin America.

These include plans on launching a new golf tour outside of North America.

PGA Tour officials will meet later this week with officials from South America, Central America, the Caribbean and Mexico to discuss forming a new tour in the region that likely would serve as a feeder to the Nationwide Tour, a development pathway to the main big-money tournaments in the US.

"The idea around this is to create a more consistent model, week-in and week-out and to create a clear pathway for how players can elevate themselves to potential spots on the Nationwide Tour, and follow on to the PGA Tour," said Jack Warfield, the PGA Tour vice-president of championship management.

The tour would consist of at least 12 events - with purses in the $200,000 (£129,000) range - with the top players on the year-end Order of Merit list earning Nationwide Tour status the following season.

The tour would also award Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points, since Olympic eligibility for the 2016 Games is based on OWGR points.

The new tour would likely replace the current Tour de las Americas and wouldn’t start until at least 2012.

There are also plans on holding more Nationwide Tour events in South America in the coming years, especially since the tour’s contract with the PGA Tour of Australasia to co-sanction events has expired.

"We’re looking at a couple new markets in South America," Nationwide Tour President Bill Calfee told Golfweek.

"That’s an area where we’re starting to spend more time.

"We’d ultimately like to have maybe five events down there, and kick the season off in a more meaningful way -  really put some media behind a Latin American swing to kick off the season.

"That’s the plan, either next year or the year after."

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