Group Created with Sketch.
Volume 24 No. 112

Leagues and Governing Bodies

Greg Norman believes that golf's anti-doping procedures are a "disgrace," according to Will Swanton of THE AUSTRALIAN. Norman yesterday said, "You only have to look at what happened to Vijay Singh just recently to know the drugs issue is there. ... If you really want to be serious about it and find about what's really going on, we need to do blood testing. I think it's disgraceful, to tell you the truth. The golf associations have to get together and step it up. You have to have blood testing, simple as that. It's a pin prick for a player, and you find out what's going on. If you're the head of golf or any sport, if you're the commissioner for a sport, it's your responsibility to make sure your sport is clean. That should be your No 1 priority." Norman continued, "Any sportsman or sportswoman who uses an outside agency to improve their skills is cheating. It sickens me. They're putting a black eye on their sport” (THE AUSTRALIAN, 4/29). Golf Channel’s Gary Williams said of the PGA Tour's drug-testing policy, “If you're going to use the model of the World Anti-Doping Agency, then you have to go all the way. You can’t say you follow their guidelines but yet you don’t do blood testing.” Williams added that the Tour has testing “by name but they don’t have it in actuality.” Golf Channel’s Damon Hack said of his problem with the anti-doping policy in the game of golf is that there is “so much smoke, so much mirrors." Hack: "We don’t know what’s going on. Even the situation with Vijay Singh, we’re talking about deer antler spray, we’re not talking about HGH. We don’t even know what’s going on with that situation. We’ve been talking about it for months and we’ve yet to have any satisfaction or a result” (“Morning Drive,” Golf Channel, 4/29).

PRESSURE SYSTEM: YAHOO SPORTS’ Brian Murphy wrote of adverse weather affecting multiple PGA Tour events this season, “Enough with the weather on the PGA Tour. It’s damn near apocalyptic.” The whole scene at this past weekend's Zurich Classic of New Orleans “felt that way, with the gators at TPC Louisiana reportedly crawling around the golf course, and play halted one day for a swarm of bees on the course.” It is like “they were filming the sequel” to “Beasts Of The Southern Wild” (, 4/28).

FIRST THINGS FIRST: In Dallas, Bill Nichols writes the North Texas LPGA Shootout this past weekend “had almost everything a first-year event could hope for: Large crowds, a field that included nine of the top 10 players in the Rolex Rankings and an exciting finish.” Inbee Park, who won the event, said, “I didn’t expect that much of a gallery this week.” The event marked the LPGA’s “first Dallas-Fort Worth appearance since the 1991 U.S. Women’s Open at Colonial Country Club.” Tournament officials “estimated the attendance at 76,000 for the four rounds.” Weekend figures were “about 36,000 for Saturday and 30,000 for Sunday” (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 4/29).

EPL club Manchester City Owner Sheik Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan, a member of the Abu Dhabi royal family, has “entered final negotiations to purchase” an MLS franchise “to be situated in Queens,” according to sources cited by Longman & Belson of the N.Y. TIMES. The sources said that prospective owner is “willing to pay" a $100M expansion fee for the league’s 20th team, "which could be called New York City F.C. and begin play” in ’16. The figure would “more than double” the expansion fee of $40M paid by the Impact in ’12. Sources said that a deal for a privately-financed, $340M stadium in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, which “would hold 25,000 spectators and could be expanded to 35,000, could be completed in several weeks.” Sources said that MLS “wants to make the announcement before May 25, when Manchester City is scheduled to play an exhibition at Yankee Stadium against” EPL club Chelsea. For MLS, an affiliation with Man City ownership would “broaden the global footprint of the sport." Univ. of Michigan sports management professor Stefan Szymanski said that the franchise “could help develop young players for Manchester City, while Sheik Mansour positions himself in the event MLS takes off in terms of attracting a wider television audience, offering larger salaries and becoming more appealing to soccer fans in the United States who now prefer the international game.” A source said that MLS “would have been more wary of Arab ownership if a New York team were being bought by the Qatari royal family," which has shown support for terrorist group Hamas (N.Y. TIMES, 4/29).

In Atlanta, Wenk & Saporta write "conversation is kicking around again" about an MLS team in the city. Both the Falcons and MLS "confirmed they are in contact regularly." However, "no formal meetings are scheduled so far." Falcons President & CEO Rich McKay in a statement said, “We are trying to facilitate that happening by configuring a new stadium to accommodate the requirements of professional soccer.” MLS Exec VP/Communications Dan Courtemanche said that it "remains possible for Atlanta to get an MLS team in time for the opening day of the new Falcons stadium," slated for '17. Wenk & Saporta note Atlanta is the "largest television market in the country without an MLS team." Atlanta "already is home" to the NASL Silverbacks. It is "possible that the Silverbacks could be essentially 'promoted' to an MLS team, which could prove easier than starting from scratch." However, Silverbacks Chair & Minority Owner Boris Jerkunica said that the team "isn’t very interested in becoming part of MLS." Courtemanche added that "there have been no discussions between MLS and the Silverbacks" (ATLANTA BUSINESS CHRONICLE, 4/26 issue).