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All business at Torrey player meeting

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SAN DIEGO – Although there was no shortage of hot-button topics addressed at Tuesday’s mandatory players meeting at the Farmers Insurance Open, the primary item on the agenda was a from-the-hip economics lesson from AT&T CEO and president Randall Stephenson.

According to players who attended the meeting at Torrey Pines, Stephenson’s message was simple and to the point – it’s all about business.

“He basically said it’s a business decision to sponsor tournaments,” said one player. “If something doesn’t help them sell they are not going to it.”


Having Stephenson, whose company sponsors the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and AT&T National, talk dovetails with the Tour’s push to have players add events to their schedules that they may not otherwise play and to stress the importance of sponsors.

“He said that every executive that plays (in the Pebble Beach Pro-Am) does $150 million in business with AT&T and that we should keep that in mind when we’re with them,” the player added.

PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem also addressed the rash of disqualifications for signing incorrect scorecards following violations that came to light well after play concluded, like Camilo Villegas’ DQ at the season opener in Hawaii. The consensus from most Tour players is that the rule is too harsh and should be changed.

On Tuesday Finchem said he plans to take the issue up with the U.S. Golf Association’s executive committee late next week.

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