Golf: Japan PGA top brass to resign in wake of yakuza scandal

TOKYO (AFP) - The leadership of Japan's Professional Golfers Association will resign en masse after two of its executives were found to have played golf and socialised with an underworld boss, a report said on Wednesday.

The PGA's policy board decided on the mass resignation, to be followed by the election of new representatives in January, the Jiji Press news agency said.

All the 91 PGA representatives, including chairman Shizuo Mori, four vice-chairmen and some 20 board directors, will voluntarily step down to help restore public trust in the body, the report said.

Between March and June this year, a then PGA vice-chairman Shinsaku Maeda, 61, and then board director Tadayoshi Bando, 67, were found to have played golf and dined with the head of a yakuza organised crime group in the southern island of Kyushu, the report said.

The PGA bars its representatives from socialising with organised crime syndicates.

Maeda and Bando were expelled from the association in October.

"We take the matter very seriously. We want to do our utmost to prevent a recurrence of such a case," a current PGA vice-chairman Nobuyuki Abe told Jiji.

The body oversees the country's professional golf activities, including the licensing of golfers and development of junior players.

Japan's premier tour has been organised and supervised by the Japan Golf Tour Organisation since 1999, when it was founded to take over the role from the PGA.