SBD/August 14, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

European, PGA Tour Execs Shoot Down Reports Of Potential Takeover

Finchem said the notion of acquiring the European Tour was inaccurate
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).
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