SBD/November 25, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Golf May Be Nearing World Tour Within Next Five Years, Structure Undecided

A world golf tour, or some other type of global competition, "isn't just plausible but probable," according to John Paul Newport of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. It "won't happen next year," but it is "likely that within five years, perhaps as soon as" the '16 Rio Games, golf's governing bodies "will have settled on a structure for such a competition and announce how and when it might be rolled out." European Tour CEO George O'Grady said, "I do think it's evolving toward that, because the players see it for themselves. They get it. They see that this is the huge growth area for golf." PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem said that the more the game "grows overseas, the wealthier the PGA Tour will get." Newport wrote regardless of what form "a new world tour or super-schedule takes, the PGA Tour and the core tournaments like the majors and the existing World Golf Championship events, aren't going anywhere." The U.S. is "by far the world's largest golf market, and it makes sense that a lion's share of the events that might constitute a new world tour would remain here." A new world tour would "certainly involve more travel outside the U.S. than most American players are used to and would diminish the importance of mid- and lower-level tournaments." But top-ranking Americans have "shown more willingness to travel overseas when the money is right." Finchem said of a global tour, "There are other strong alternatives to consider." He put forward one option that was "akin to soccer's World Cup format, with regional qualifying and a series of concluding tournaments, perhaps in new formats and possibly not every year." Newport: "Finchem's dream is for elite golf in multiple regions of the world to reach parity with the U.S. and Europe" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 11/24).
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