PGA attracting worldwide media, fans

By Eric

KIAWAH ISLAND, SC (WCIV) -- There's no denying the international flavor at the PGA this week. There are 71 international players from 23 countries, and they've brought with them a following.

Their flags fly, their fans follow. The international field makes it the biggest of any golf tournament in the United States this year. And while the coverage at Kiawah may be dominated by Americans, we're not alone.

"We only found out we were coming a week ago. We got the budget approved and then had to organize a visa which was a struggle in itself on such short notice," said Richard Maspero, with South African sports affiliate Super Sport.

Maspero calls Super Sport the ESPN of Africa.

"The conditions here at the Ocean Course are phenomenal," said Maspero. "The media center is great, the facilities they've put up for us are just wonderful."

Maspero's crew is joined by media from 13 other countries, including Ireland, Japan and Australia, to name just a few. They've been following their country's stars faithfully all week, some to the point of exhaustion.

Maspero, likewise, is keeping up with his countrymen.

"There's a lot of interest in golf, a wave of young, up and coming golfers now that are coming through and winning major championships," he said. "There's a lot of interest in the sport due to that."

South African Ernie Els captured the British Open crown two weeks ago.

A type of story any media member would love to take back home to their viewers. As far as their take on the place we call home, "Charleston seems awesome," Maspero said. "We've been able to have a look at the town, the course here on Kiawah Island is unbelievable. It's nothing like we've ever seen before."

The leader board has felt that international presence too. At the start of play Saturday, only one U.S. born player was among the top five.