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Finchem See Global Integration
Soon For Men's World Golf
PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem “expects some form of a ‘world tour’ in golf in the future,” according to Doug Ferguson of the AP. Europe “already has one, with sanctioned tournaments on five continents.” The PGA Tour is going to Malaysia later this month for the CIMB Asia Pacific Classic Malaysia, returns to Shanghai for the World Golf Championship-HSBC Champions and “has Japan on its wish list.” Finchem said, “At some point in time, men’s professional golf will become integrated globally. Now, what form that takes, whether it’s a total integration, whether it’s a FIFA-type, I don’t know. One question is how the competition is organized. Another question is how the organizational structure behind it is organized. The first one is the key thing.” Ferguson noted one reason Finchem “believes a world tour is inevitable is marketing and sponsorship, which includes players.” Finchem: “It’s a matter of time. Golf generally is a splintered sport, multi-organizational at every level. But there’s movement. The last 15 years there’s been a lot of movement. I would see that continuing to develop toward integration.” Finchem said he and European PGA Tour CEO George O'Grady have been “working together.” Finchem: “We’re talking to him constantly about what our plan would be. My guess is it will result in us doing even more together” (AP, 10/5).
STEPPING STONES: In a special to SI GOLF PLUS, Finchem writes while there is a "tremendous amount of preparation to be done over the next six years" before golf returns to the Olympics at the '16 Rio de Janeiro Games, the PGA Tour’s "international expansion continues during the interim." Finchem: "Later this month a significant two-week span in Asia begins with the debut of the CIMB Asia Pacific Classic in Malaysia, followed by the World Golf Championships--HSBC Champions in Shanghai. ... The Omega Mission Hills World Cup, a biennial event, returns next year to Hainan Island.” He added through the Tour's "growing relationship with the China Golf Association, the Chinese men's national team spent several weeks in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., training with our instructors at the Tour Academy at TPC Sawgrass.” Finchem: “I also would note the recent success of the Champions tour's new tournament in South Korea and the Nationwide tour's expansion into South America, with events in Panama and Colombia earlier this year” (SI, 10/11 issue).
GRASS GREENER ON THE OTHER SIDE? In London, Lawrence Donegan writes these are “worrying times for the European Tour, with more and more of its best players setting up base in the US, including Paul Casey and Justin Rose.” Graeme McDowell, who “holed the winning putt at Celtic Manor" Monday during the Ryder Cup, yesterday confirmed he will take up membership on the PGA Tour. McDowell: “I tried it once before, in 2006, but I never really got a full taste of it. I want to give it a go out there, though my schedule will also have European Tour events in it as well.” However, Lee Westwood said, "I like the European Tour and I want to support it. It is my personal preference to play here more. ... The only reason I would join the US Tour is for money" (GUARDIAN, 10/7).