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FOX CONSIDERS GOLF SERIES, BUT PGA TOUR AGAINST PROPOSAL
Published November 16, 1994
In a development "certain to send shock waves" through men's golf, Fox Broadcasting said that it plans to co-sponsor a new golf tour in 1995. PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem responded quickly, saying he would attempt to bar PGA pros from joining. According to leaked reports, Fox would co-sponsor the tour with Executive Sports, an event management firm in Delray Beach, FL, and would televise about eight tournaments. There would be 30 to 40 players competing for total prize money in excess of $25M. The '94 PGA Tour encompassed 50 events with prize money of $82M. Fox Sports spokesperson Vince Wladika told AP that Executive Sports approached Fox with the golf proposal. Greg Norman, "who has sought a world tour for golf's top players for a long time," has met with Executive Sports officials about the idea. Norman, who will host his Franklin Funds Shark Shootout beginning this Friday, reportedly will call a players meeting today about the new tour. Yesterday, Finchem released a statement about the new Fox tour, "even though there has been no official announcement about the tour's creation" (Thomas Bonk, L.A. TIMES, 11/16). FINCHEM REAX: In his statement, Finchem said the PGA Tour supports more int'l competition, but only if such projects meet certain rules: "They must benefit golf, have the support of all golf organizations and be structured to help existing tours." Finchem went on to state that the proposed Fox/Executive Sports Tour, "fails to meet any of these three criteria." More from Finchem's statement: "This proposal would have a negative impact on existing events. It would result in fewer playing opportunities for the great majority of our members and an inevitable reduction in the $24.7 million raised for charity in the communities where our tournaments were played this year" (PGA Tour). Finchem also warned that if the events are staged, the PGA Tour will fulfill its long-term agreements with TV nets, title sponsors and tournaments by "enforcing our television release and conflicting event regulations." The PGA Tour does not allow its members to play in events that occur simultaneously at the same time as Tour events (Thomas Bonk, L.A. TIMES, 11/16). PLAYER REAX: Golfer Peter Jacobsen "said there isn't much excitement for the tour because it could wreck the current structure of the PGA Tour": "It could make more money for the players. But we need to learn from other sports. Greed has ruined baseball and hockey, and its well on its way to ruining basketball" (USA TODAY, 11/16).