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FINCHEM PUTS BITE ON WORLD TOUR DURING SHARK SHOOT-OUT
Published November 21, 1994
"Both sides in the golf war drew lines in the bunkers Saturday when the World Tour vowed to begin in 1995 and PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem said he doesn't see how it's possible." Finchem, who met with World Tour organizer Greg Norman and a number of PGA Tour players Friday night, released a statement that said it would be "extremely difficult" to accommodate the new tour (Thomas Bonk, L.A. TIMES, 11/20). During CBS' Saturday telecast of Greg Norman's Franklin Funds Shark Shoot-Out, Jim Nantz reported that Finchem felt there was a "fair amount of flexibility" on the part of Norman and World Tour organizers. A statement from Finchem, as read by Nantz: "We're going to review our options, and I can only hope if we reach no common ground, that Greg and his organizers will avoid confrontation and will look at what's good for the game of golf." Finchem said a task force is being formed at PGA headquarters in FL and they will meet with World Tour organizers Tuesday. Finchem also said that '95 start is "unlikely" and a '96 start would "also be difficult." Norman, interviewed by Nantz: "We had a good communication with Tim Finchem ... so only time will tell." Norman on the perception that these plans came so suddenly to the PGA Tour: "There was no maliciousness meant. We wanted to make sure our side was OK, and we did it that way" (CBS, 11/19). Norman, who left for a vacation in Australia, will not take part in the Tuesday meeting. The World Tour is scheduled to begin in '95 with eight $3M tournaments, all of them televised on Fox (Thomas Bonk, L.A. TIMES, 11/21). BATTLE LINES? Norman's business adviser Frank Williams is hopeful there is room for compromise with the PGA Tour: "Perhaps there is a compromise [that] we don't go with as many events in the first season." But Williams was firm on the World Tour's plan to start in '95, "no matter what" (Thomas Bonk, L.A. TIMES, 11/20). MORE REAX: Arnold Palmer: "My business, if I have any in this situation, is to be sure that they protect what they have right now -- and that is the PGA Tour." Peter Jacobsen didn't think the World Tour would be up in '95, but added: "I think we're on the right track, everyone's working together right now" ("Shoot-Out," CBS, 11/19). Columnist Thomas Boswell calls the World Tour a "brazen display of self-interest" from Norman (WASHINGTON POST, 11/19).