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SBD/August 14, 2013/Leagues and Governing BodiesPrint All
Reports of the PGA Tour taking over the European Tour “have been denied” by the European governing body, according to Iain Carter of the BBC. European Tour COO Keith Waters described the news as "incorrect." Waters said, "The golf market in Europe is significantly smaller than in the United States. ... However, the notion that the US PGA Tour is somehow bidding to buy the European Tour is incorrect" (BBC.co.uk, 8/13). GOLFWEEK.com's Adam Schupak noted the reports of a takeover "led to a flurry of denials by both parties." PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem later yesterday released a statement labeling the reports "inaccurate." Schupak noted the concept of "one world tour has been broached several times in the past." The World Golf Championships were formed in '99 as an "attempt to bring the best players in the world together more frequently." McDowell later tweeted about a possible takeover by the PGA Tour, "Not needed. Most top 50 players play world tour anyway" (GOLFWEEK.com, 8/13). GOLFCHANNEL.com's Rex Hoggard cited sources as saying that a takeover "would be a tough sale on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean." Such a move for the European Tour would "help balance the financial divide between the two circuits and provide access to the PGA Tour via the European money list, similar to how players graduate from the Web.com Tour." As for what the PGA Tour would "get out of the deal, the European Tour has a stronger footprint in Asia, specifically China, and the rights to the Ryder Cup, which is currently run by the European circuit and the PGA of America." That "ignores the PGA Tour's improving position in Asia in recent years." Hoggard: "While the reports of an impending takeover of the European Tour seem premature, most observers agree that the possibility of a 'world tour' is not completely outlandish" (GOLFCHANNEL.com, 8/13).
CALLING THEIR SHOTS: USA TODAY's Steve DiMeglio notes fans have increasingly been screaming "nonsense just after players swing." However, PGA Tour Exec VP & Chief Global Communications Officer Ty Votaw yesterday said that he is "not sure what can be done" to police the growing trend. Votaw said, "I don't know if it is any more of a concern than it has been, and I'm not sure it has been that much of a concern. As long as they don't do it during a player's swing, it's difficult to police." He added, "It might be worse in certain places. But we'll keep looking into it." Golfer Ian Poulter "fired off a series of tweets following the PGA Championship on Sunday, including this one: 'We should be allowed to take 10,000 volt tazers onto the course and tazer every muppet who shouts out something stupid. I would laugh then.'" But Poulter "was not alone." Other players, including Jim Furyk, "turned back to stare intently at the gallery after outbursts" during the final round of the tournament. CBS analyst Nick Faldo "spoke on the air about how annoying it was, to players and everyone else" (USA TODAY, 8/14). PGA Championship winner Jason Dufner said the fans yelling after golf shots is “getting crazy out there.” He said, “We’ve got a lot of rules out there for what the spectators are supposed to do out there in the galleries, and they don’t seem to follow much of those rules anyway. So I don’t think if they put a rule in place it would really help it” (“Mike & Mike, ESPN Radio, 8/13).
FINISH LINE: PGA Tour Exec VP & COO Andy Pazder said that "caddie races, a staple during tournaments at TPC Scottsdale and Colonial, will no longer be allowed." Pazder: "It was a situation where we developed a little concern about caddies’ safety. Running 150 yards puts caddies at risk for injury." GOLFCHANNEL.com's Hoggard noted the caddie race at Colonial's par-3 13th is "considered the original," and officials at the Byron Nelson Championship and Waste Management Phoenix Open "added the event in recent years" (GOLFCHANNEL.com, 8/13). Pazder said the atmosphere at the Waste Management Open's 16th hole is "pretty lively without the caddie races to further enliven it." He added, "It made sense to dial down the volume a little bit." The tourney will instead feature an "interactive game where spectators can guess which golfer's ball will come closest to the hole" (GOLF WORLD, 8/19 issue). YAHOO SPORTS' Shane Bacon wrote the ban on caddie races "seems so shortsighted." The Tour "focuses on the craziness" that is the Waste Management Open, but is "trying to outlaw one of the most fun parts of the entire week?" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 8/13).
The idea of Bethpage Black hosting the Ryder Cup in '24 is "a stroke of genius," according to John Paul Newport of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Unlike at "more staid PGA Tour events, it's not considered poor form at Ryder Cup matches for fans to wave flags, don costumes and actively root for one side and against the other." However, PGA of America CEO Pete Bevacqua yesterday said that a report the course would host the '19 PGA Championship as well as the '24 Ryder Cup was "premature." Bevacqua said, "Nothing to this point has been finalized." But he "didn't deny the report, either." Bevacqua: "I don't think it's any secret that the PGA of America is a big fan of Bethpage. It's obviously a facility we've had our eye on." Newport notes the USGA staged both the '02 and the '09 U.S. Opens at Bethpage Black, and those events were "so popular and successful ... that one wonders how or why the PGA snatched Bethpage away from the USGA." Golf historian Philip Young believes that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who was state attorney general in '09, "may have played a role." After several rain delays, Cuomo "demanded, both behind the scenes and in the media, that the USGA offer fans refunds for their tickets or free admission on Monday, when most of the final round was played." The USGA did, but Young said that the incident "damaged relations between Bethpage and the USGA" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 8/14). In N.Y., Brett Cyrgalis notes Bethpage Black will host the '16 Barclays, one of the PGA Tour FedExCup events, but "once the deal with the PGA goes through" for the PGA and Ryder Cup, "the state won't pursue the Barclays" in '20 (N.Y. POST, 8/14).
GENTLEMEN'S GAME? The USGA announced its new 12-year deal with Fox the night before the PGA Championship began last week, but PGA of America President Ted Bishop said there was nothing outside of the tournament "that disrupted what we felt like was an important week in major golf." Bishop, appearing on the Back9Network, said, "We survived something there in the middle of the week that had no impact on our championship whatsoever." With the USGA holding the U.S. Amateur Championship this week, Bishop refuted the reports about Bethpage, saying, "There's no way the PGA of America would make an announcement on where a future Ryder Cup and PGA Championship site would be. ... We wouldn't want to be a distraction to any of our ally associations." Bishop said he was "absolutely insulted" at the suggestion that his organization would leak the Bethpage news during the U.S. Amateur. Back9Network's Matt Adams asked, "Is there an unspoken rule among golf governing bodies that when they have an event going on that's so important that you kind of leave it alone?" Bishop replied, "Well, obviously there's not. There's not at least within the circle of one of golf's governing bodies. But I don't think anybody would have made that announcement during The Masters. I don't think that the USGA would have that announcement during the Open Championship and I can unequivocally tell you that the PGA of America would not make any kind of major announcement that would upstage any one of our major championship partners nor the PGA Tour" ("Fairways of Life," Back9Network, 8/13).
MLB owners today are "scheduled to be presented with a proposal that would expand instant replay into virtually every phase of the game," according to Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY. Under the new plan, each play "would be open to review, with the exception of the calls of balls and strikes." Former Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa yesterday said, "Arguments will be still part of the game. We're not going to eliminate that. But I think if (instant replay) is done carefully, and recognizing how it can be done effectively and efficiently, it will be good for the game." MLB if the owners approve will "begin the process of negotiating the plan's implementation" with the MLBPA and the umpires union for the '14 season. Nightengale notes, "Elaborate cameras will need to be set up at every ballpark, particularly on the outfield walls." Additionally, a monitoring system will "need to be established so umpiring crews can check replays with the New York office -- likely with a major league umpiring crew standing by -- to determine whether the call on the field will stand." It has "yet to be settled whether managers will be allowed to issue replay challenges, like in the NFL." A source said that the "start-up fee" for replay expansion will be $25-40M. Nightengale: "Do the owners want to cough up that much money, especially when MLB studies reveal there's an average of three missed calls a night but precious few that impact a game's outcome?" The "biggest issue with expanded replay is the delays it could create." MLB Exec VP/Baseball Operations Joe Torre said, "One of the decisions we have to make is how much do we want to do without really disrupting and putting people to sleep?" (USA TODAY, 8/14).
The NFLPA has "'tentatively agreed' to blood testing for this season, including four-game suspensions for players who test positive," according to a union memo cited by Christian Red of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. The memo posted on the union's website "details a plan to conduct a population study to determine what the 'decision limit' is within the NFL population -- the average amount of natural HGH that is produced by an individual." An NFL spokesperson said that "no 'comprehensive agreement for HGH testing' has been finalized" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 8/14). The memo said that if "more than 5 percent of all training camp samples are above that threshold, players who fail will have ''reasonable cause'' testing during the next two seasons -- meaning they'll be subject to additional testing." The AP's Howard Fendrich noted a player "testing positive again during the 2013-14 or 2014-15 seasons will get an eight-game suspension." A player "without another positive result in that time will be removed from the extra testing program." But the memo "does not make clear what exactly the NFL has agreed to at this point or give specifics about what stands in the way of a final accord." No date has been "set for the start of testing, because there are still issues that need to be negotiated between the NFL and union, including whether the commissioner or a neutral arbitrator will handle certain types of appeals of discipline" (AP, 8/13).
Heat F Chris Bosh visited India last month as "part of a well-orchestrated effort" by the NBA to "make an all-American game hugely popular in India," according to Shareen Pathak of AD AGE. The "hope is to create more Chinas." NBA Int'l President Heidi Ueberroth said that the league has been "developing the game there for 30 years, and China is now the NBA's largest market outside the U.S." NBA India Managing Dir Yannick Colaco said that the country is "an ideal place to grow the sport." Basketball "requires little space -- a commodity in major Indian cities like Mumbai or New Delhi." In addition, half of India's population is "under the age of 25 and 65% is under 35." Pathak wrote what is "remarkable about the NBA's effort in the market is its speed -- or lack thereof." Colaco is "emphatic that the league doesn't just want to increase the number of people watching basketball, but focus on grassroots development to seed long-term growth." A basic interest in basketball among Indians "already exists, but what's needed is infrastructure, which is what led the NBA to organize 450 events at the local level over the last few years." Colaco said that the league this month will "launch a comprehensive amateur three-on-three tournament featuring Indian colleges, an attempt to get them 'engaged' in the NBA brand." The league already has "partnered with brands" including adidas, Coca-Cola and Nike in India, and its national recreational league's latest season "had 6,000 players participate" (ADAGE.com, 8/13).