FOX CONSIDERS GOLF SERIES, BUT PGA TOUR AGAINST PROPOSAL
In a development "certain to send shock waves" through men's
golf, Fox Broadcasting said that it plans to co-sponsor a new
golf tour in 1995. PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem responded
quickly, saying he would attempt to bar PGA pros from joining.
According to leaked reports, Fox would co-sponsor the tour with
Executive Sports, an event management firm in Delray Beach, FL,
and would televise about eight tournaments. There would be 30 to
40 players competing for total prize money in excess of $25M.
The '94 PGA Tour encompassed 50 events with prize money of $82M.
Fox Sports spokesperson Vince Wladika told AP that Executive
Sports approached Fox with the golf proposal. Greg Norman, "who
has sought a world tour for golf's top players for a long time,"
has met with Executive Sports officials about the idea. Norman,
who will host his Franklin Funds Shark Shootout beginning this
Friday, reportedly will call a players meeting today about the
new tour. Yesterday, Finchem released a statement about the new
Fox tour, "even though there has been no official announcement
about the tour's creation" (Thomas Bonk, L.A. TIMES, 11/16).
FINCHEM REAX: In his statement, Finchem said the PGA Tour
supports more int'l competition, but only if such projects meet
certain rules: "They must benefit golf, have the support of all
golf organizations and be structured to help existing tours."
Finchem went on to state that the proposed Fox/Executive Sports
Tour, "fails to meet any of these three criteria." More from
Finchem's statement: "This proposal would have a negative impact
on existing events. It would result in fewer playing
opportunities for the great majority of our members and an
inevitable reduction in the $24.7 million raised for charity in
the communities where our tournaments were played this year" (PGA
Tour). Finchem also warned that if the events are staged, the
PGA Tour will fulfill its long-term agreements with TV nets,
title sponsors and tournaments by "enforcing our television
release and conflicting event regulations." The PGA Tour does
not allow its members to play in events that occur simultaneously
at the same time as Tour events (Thomas Bonk, L.A. TIMES, 11/16).
PLAYER REAX: Golfer Peter Jacobsen "said there isn't much
excitement for the tour because it could wreck the current
structure of the PGA Tour": "It could make more money for the
players. But we need to learn from other sports. Greed has
ruined baseball and hockey, and its well on its way to ruining
basketball" (USA TODAY, 11/16).