SBD/February 25, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

PGA Tour's Opposition To Anchoring Ban Seen As "Power Struggle" For Control Of Game

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PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem yesterday announced the Tour is opposed to the proposed ban on anchored putting, and the debate on the issue has "turned into a power struggle over who controls the game," according to Golf magazine's Mike Walker. He believes the USGA and the R&A "should call the PGA Tour's bluff: some players might complain, but the Tour will abide by the ban." Walker: "Tim Finchem will never allow a situation where his players could be called cheats." SI's Gary Van Sickle said the Tour is "protecting its property, that is, its star players who use anchored putting." This opposition, plus the PGA of America's "anti-ban position, will have to make the USGA and R&A reconsider whether the ban is doable." Golf.com's Eamon Lynch said there is "nothing surprising in the Tour's stance." Finchem is "employed by the players to represent their interests, and ... many Tour players don't like blue-blazered amateurs deciding on the tools of their livelihood." Blogger Stephanie Wei said, "The Tour is more concerned with its own self-interest than what's best for the game" (GOLF.com, 2/25).

BAD TIMING AWARD? YAHOO SPORTS' Brian Murphy noted Matt Kuchar yesterday defeated Hunter Mahan 2 and 1 in the final of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, but Finchem was “busy yanking the carpet of attention away with a tone-deaf turn in NBC's TV booth" where he announced the Tour's opposition to the ban. Murphy: “That's great and all that the Tour and Finchem can have their own point of view and their own take on it, but can Finchem let Kuchar and Mahan play their WGC final without him interjecting on the proceedings?” Murphy asked, “Why wouldn't Finchem wait until maybe the Wednesday of the WGC event at Doral, when the golf media are assembled in two weeks, to hold that news conference?” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 2/24). GOLF WORLD MONDAY's Geoff Shackelford writes Finchem's announcement produced "little shock." What "did surprise was his choice to pre-empt" the event "at a crucial stage of the final match" (GOLF WORLD MONDAY, 2/25 issue).

SINGH DECISION COMING SOON: Finchem this weekend said he expected a resolution "relatively soon" in the investigation of golfer Vijay Singh's admission to using a banned substance. Finchem: "We're in our process. There's no time urgency here, because if action is taken it'll be reported.” The Tour’s anti-doping policy states a violation "will be announced but only if it involves a performance-enhancing drug like IGF-1, not a recreational substance" (GOLFCHANNEL.com, 2/24).
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