NORTON, Mass. – Although he’s previously denied published reports stating the PGA Tour has interest in taking over the European Tour, commissioner Tim Finchem said Wednesday that there remains interest in the two tours working together over the long term.
“I think what we focused on over the years is doing more things together and doing more things together that we think help the strength of the overall platform,” he expressed from TPC Boston, site of this week’s Deutsche Bank Championship. “And we've made a fair amount of progress over the last 15 years doing that.
“So the question in front of us now is, ‘Is there a next step or next two steps?’ It's not really, ‘Are we going to get to a place?’ It's what the track looks like over the next 20 years. And we recognize that golf is growing, starting to really pick up growth in areas globally where historically where they haven't been, especially on the women's side in some of those areas, like Asia.
Finchem maintained that having a strong European Tour also benefits the product domestically, as far as growing interest in the game.
“If you look back over the last 50 years, where professional golf has been strong, the game grows much better than if professional golf is weaker,” he continued. “The stronger the professional game gets, the more the game works. That's not just in an elite player involvement, but playing the game recreationally.
“Having strong tours in areas that either have or have the potential to have a lot of golf generated is in everybody's interests. And that's one of the things we're focused on. We have virtually everybody playing our Tour right now. Is that necessarily the best model, given what these other tours need to generate? I think we need to pay attention to that.”
Finchem contended that the current relationship between the tours should allow the partnership to grow organically rather than forcing one.
“You just don't do something and turnaround and do something else. So I think the timeframe is fine. And there's nothing urgent about any of this. I think professional golf has made a lot of strides in the last five years, not just here, but around the globe, and continues to do so. And if there's a way we can do it better together then that's good.
“But if it's 10 years or 15 years, I think we're still headed in the right direction. So I don't feel like this is a situation where we have to fix anything. Things are moving very well.”