SBD/16/Leagues Governing Bodies

COLUMNIST GIVES PGA TOUR A PLUG IN ITS FIGHT WITH THE FTC

     The FTC's investigation into PGA Tour rules restricting
competition from potential golf-promoting rivals, is examined by
Tom Boswell of the WASHINGTON POST, who writes that an FTC
complaint against the Tour "would disrupt American golf for
years."  PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem said the legal fight
would "probably last until the end of the century. ... We
shouldn't spend five years fighting our own government."  The PGA
Tour says it needs the rules to prevent its members from
participating in conflicting tournaments that undercut the tour's
major sponsors and network TV partners.  Boswell argues that PGA
players "were the ones that created the regulations," and without
the rules, TV networks will not pay millions for broadcast rights
if players can make more "at some schlock Challenge of the
Superstars," and sponsors would not sign up if tournaments don't
have a "representative field."  One of the "little mysteries is
who got the FTC all excited about the tour's" rules in the first
place.  Boswell mentions Greg Norman's World Tour idea and the
"TV arm of Jack Nicklaus's empire."  Finchem believes if the tour
loses the rules,  fans will see "promoter-driven, short-field,
low-cost-for-profit, made-for -TV-events, that never make it on
the network level."  Boswell concludes:  "Golf is perhaps our
last game that is not dominated by greed or lawsuits or ill-
mannered prima donna stars. ... By all means, let's see if
somebody can mess it up" (WASHINGTON POST, 2/15).
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