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THE PGA DROPPED COUNTRY CLUB APPROACH IN FTC FIGHT

     The recent FTC investigation of the PGA Tour and the initial
decision by the FTC's antitrust lawyers to take governmental
action against the Tour was examined in Sunday's L.A. TIMES
business section.   In late 1994, the FTC decided to take try to
nullify two little-known PGA Tour rules that all members must
agree to as a condition of joining the Tour.  One of the rules
forbade golfers to play in a non-PGA event without approval of
the commissioner.  The other mandates the commissioner have final
say on TV appearances.  In addressing the FTC's investigation,
PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem abandoned the traditional "low
key" approach of the Tour for a "more vigorous, frontal
counterattack."  Finchem sold the idea to Congress that "while
the tour's disputed politics control players, the restraints are
necessary to assure TV networks and sponsors of a reliable supply
of quality golfers."  Finchem took several avenues, one of which
induced tournament sponsors and charities to write members of
Congress and the FTC, while also directly pleading the Tour's
case with Congress.      VULNERABILITY:  The TIMES' David Willman
calls the results an example of "how vulnerable the FTC is to
political pressure," as no fewer than 26 members of Congress
wrote to FTC commissioners about the case.  Willman points out
that as many as 20 members of Congress are invited to play with
PGA stars in the Kemper Open Pro-Am.  As this was going on,
legislation approved by a Senate subcommittee threatened to slash
FTC funding by 20%, something that was "a factor in their
decision," according to Terry Moorhouse, Exec VP and General
Counsel of the PGA Tour.  The FTC, after several months of
congressional lobbying to back off, voted on September 1 to kill
the investigation, and according to Willman, "congressional
overtures injected a tension that could not be ignored."  One
unnamed FTC official told the TIMES that the letters and input
from Congress "were taken very seriously" (L.A. TIMES, 10/22).
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