The PGA of America is considering trademark litigation
against the U.S. Golf Teachers Federation, which features a logo
with two golf clubs crossed, similar to that of the PGA (GOLF
SHOP OPERATIONS, 1/96 issue)....LPGA Commissioner Charles
Mecham's final act before leaving office was to announce the
creation of a South FL event -- the Palm Beach International Pro
Am, which debuts in '97 at the Ibis Golf and CC in West Palm
Beach (MIAMI HERALD, 12/15)....PGA of America will open its first
public golf facility January 1 in Port St. Lucie, FL. Guest fees
will be capped at $49. The course is "part of the PGA's goal of
making world-class golf available and affordable to the public"
(Cleveland PLAIN-DEALER, 12/19)....Greater Milwaukee Open
officials will raise the event's purse by 20% for '96 in an
effort to stay competitive (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 12/20).
In a statement released yesterday, Indianapolis Motor
Speedway President Tony George, founder of the new Indy Racing
League, said they were "disappointed" with the decision by CART
team owners to stage a race opposite the Indy 500 at Michigan
Int'l Speedway on May 26. George: "CART owners and competitors
are not locked out of either the Indianapolis 500 or the Indy
Racing League. All have been invited to participate. Our intent
was that the IRL could coexist with CART's current series of
races -- which has never included the USAC-sanctioned
Indianapolis 500. Whether by its own rule changes or scheduling
conflicts, CART has created an unhealthy all-or-nothing choice
for the racing community. The IRL was created for inclusion not
exclusion -- and certainly not to be in direct conflict with or
to replace any series already in existence." George said invites
remain open to all drivers to compete in the IRL and qualify for
the Indy 500 (Indianapolis Motor Speedway).
CART REACTION: Andrew Craig, President of CART's IndyCar
series, said the notion that "the Indy 500 makes drivers and
drivers don't make the Indy 500" is "totally inappropriate" and
"highly insulting" to the drivers on the circuit. One unnamed
CART owner: "If you want to see real race-car drivers, you are
going to go to MIS (Michigan). If you want to see the 'B' race,
you go there (Indianapolis)." But the ORLANDO SENTINEL's Mike
Zizzo notes that some CART teams may "succumb to sponsor
pressure" to compete at Indy. Valvoline -- and Indy sponsor as
well as an original IRL supporting sponsor -- will have its
Walker Racing team race at Indy and the U.S. 500 (ORLANDO
SPONSOR REAX: Leo Mehl, Worldwide Manager of Racing for
Goodyear: "They're working hard to make people choose sides,
which is exactly what Goodyear is not going to do." (Steve
Ballard, USA TODAY, 12/20).
IN THE MIDDLE: The current issue of INDY CAR RACING
magazine reports virtually all IndyCar owners and sponsors are
supporting the U.S. 500, with only Valvoline "caught in the web."
Valvoline Motorsports Marketing Manager Mark Coughlin: "We
didn't anticipate this level of solidarity, especially from the
sponsors, who appear to be willing to pay the same sponsorship
dollars and get less in return." Coughlin noted their IRL deal
was done before the U.S. 500 "was a reality" and with the
anticipation that 30% of IndyCar teams would race at Indy.
Coughlin: "We have an agreement in principle [with IRL] based on
certain deliverables, but those deliverables appear to be going
away" (INDY CAR RACING magazine, 12/20 issue).
In Dallas, Ken Daley notes "underneath that thin crust of
success stories" in baseball -- those players getting big free-
agent contracts -- "is a steep drop to the next tiers of players"
(DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 12/20)....In Philadelphia, Jayson Stark
notes only 35-40 MLB players are free agents because teams failed
to tender them contracts (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 12/20)....The
MLS New England Revolution have confirmed nearly 3,000 season
ticket holders, second only to the Columbus Crew (BOSTON GLOBE,
12/19)....St. Louis may become the headquarters for Bowling Inc.
-- the sport's new governing body (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH,
Browns Owner Art Modell held his second interview with a
Baltimore media outlet in as many days yesterday, this time a
radio roundtable on WBAL-AM. Modell again defended his decision
to move, saying that the Browns easily met eight of the NFL's
nine criteria for franchise relocation --with fan support being
the ninth. Modell: "It would be hard for any owner to say that
we don't qualify. ... In light of other moves, nothing comes
close to the rationale and the justification for the Browns
moving to Baltimore." Modell also said the Browns decision could
"trigger a few other moves," and possibly lead to realignment.
He also added that it was possible the team could leave its name
and colors behind. Modell: "It's an issue that's being strongly
considered and being discussed on a daily basis" (Bart Hubbuch,
Akron BEACON JOURNAL, 12/20).
ALSO: In the Part III of an examination of franchise
stability, the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH's Jeff Gordon notes the
idea of competition for the NFL is "interesting," but he adds the
"success rate of start-up leagues is almost nil" (ST. LOUIS POST-
DISPATCH, 12/20)....ESPN's Keith Olbermann examined the history
of franchise relocation: Out of 113 current pro teams --
eliminating all expansion teams, teams that have already moved,
teams that are going to move, and teams that are threatening or
have threatened to move --only five are left: The Pacers, Maple
Leafs, Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals and Packers ("SportsCenter,"
12/19)....The NFL will donate $250,000 toward construction of a
new day care center in Oklahoma City, to replace the one
destroyed in last April's bombing of the federal building (NFL).
The NFL Management Council and NFLPA agreed yesterday on
terms for extending the current collective bargaining agreement
for one year through 2000, with options for two additional
seasons after that, according to this morning's ATLANTA
CONSTITUTION. Len Pasquarelli reports the "tentative agreement"
came less than a day after reps from both sides said the
negotiations were "close to collapse." The extension must still
be ratified by a three-quarters vote of NFL clubs and a majority
vote of union members. While the "increased stability" will aid
owners in network TV negotiations when current broadcast rights
deals expire after the '97 season, Pasquarelli writes, "It is the
players who seem to benefit more" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 12/20).
DETAILS: Either side can cancel the extension through 2000
by December 1, 1997 -- though that is flexible depending on TV
talks. The 2001 extension can be killed by Dec. 1, 1998 (USA
TODAY, AP/Mult., 12/20). More:
-- For '96, the players' share of "defined gross revenue"
(gate receipts, local and national radio and TV contracts, etc.)
will increase from 62% to 63% -- a salary cap increase of about
$700,000 per team.
-- The status of '99 changes from an uncapped year to
remaining under the cap. In exchange, the players get the years
required for free agency for that year reduced from six to four.
2000 will also be capped. The final option year, 2002, will be
uncapped with six-year free agency.
REAX: NFLPA Exec Dir Gene Upshaw: "It makes sense to
extend the agreement. The fans, the players and the clubs want
to see the games on the field, not in the courtroom or on the
picket line. This extension should create more stability for the
franchises, something everyone wants" (AP/Minneapolis STAR
TRIBUNE, 12/20). 49ers President Carmen Policy, on the "uncapped
spendfest" that was to be '99: "This is an opportunity to
salvage 1999, which was unsalvageable under the present system"
(USA TODAY, 12/20).