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Volume 24 No. 117
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     The PGA Tours top players "are competing less and less as
their business schedules are filled with more and more, and
commissioner Tim Finchem is saddled with bylaws that render him
virtually powerless to reverse the trend," according to the Jaime
Diaz in the latest issue of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED.  Diaz explains,
"once a touring pro is established as a player of repute, he can
put in as little as 15 to 25 competitive weeks a year -- most of
it aimed at peaking for majors, the true career makers.  In the
remaining time he can play in lucrative unofficial events,
collect appearance money overseas and design golf courses, and in
the process he can make more, much more, than he would win on
tour."  Among the options facing Finchem:  Raising beyond 15 the
minimum number of tournaments required for Tour membership;
mandating that no player skip more than five in a row; or making
the release policy for foreign or TV events "more stringent."
But Finchem is "unwilling to make any of these moves."  He argues
that the top players still play in about the same number of
tournaments, and that TV ratings and attendance figures back the
claim that better competition overall "adequately fills whatever
void is created" when top stars don't show (SI, 3/4 issue).