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SBD/16/Leagues Governing Bodies
COLUMNIST GIVES PGA TOUR A PLUG IN ITS FIGHT WITH THE FTC
Published February 16, 1995
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).