The U.S. Tennis Association has invested in the Pacific Life Open, helping keep the high-profile pro event from moving to China in 2007.

The USTA's board of directors said yesterday that it will join other investors in a planned buyout of management firm IMG's 50 percent interest in the event that combines the men's and women's pro tours. IMG had wanted to sell to a Chinese group.

Raymond Moore and Charlie Pasarell of PM Sports own the other 50 percent.

The group owning the other half includes the USTA, Tennis magazine owners George Mackin and Bob Miller, as well as others who have yet to be identified.

Also, the USTA will take a major role in marketing, sponsorship and television for the two-week tournament, held in March in Indian Wells, Calif. This year's women's tournament had a $2.1 million purse. The men's event was worth $2.9 million.

"The Pacific Life Open is one of the world's most prestigious tennis tournaments with a significant profile in the U.S. sports landscape," said Franklin Johnson, USTA president and chairman of the board.

The USTA's investment is subject to completion of an agreement with the tournament's other investors and IMG.

-- From News Services