Finchem OGrady talk integration


DORAL, Fla. – In what seems likely to become a regular occurrence PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem and European Tour chief George O’Grady sat down with the international media on Sunday at Doral to address all manner of pressing questions.

From the possibility of a world golf tour to a scheduling dispute that may leave many of the top South Africans a difficult scheduling choice later this year, the two power brokers offered a relatively united front on many questions that seem to be dividing the golf world.

Among the highlights of the 35-minute meet-and-greet:

-The proposal floated in some quarters that would exempt players in the top 50 in the World Ranking into whatever tournament they wish to play, whether it’s on the European or PGA tours. “We may recommend some change,” Finchem said. “We’re moving toward integration.”

“There’s not a powerful lobby for it at the moment,” O’Grady said.

-On the prospect of a global tour that would combine the best of the PGA and European circuits: “We recognize the global presence of the sport . . . and to leverage that properly integration will become a viable option,” said Finchem, who added he didn’t expect a global circuit to happen “overnight.”

“If we’re going to go forward unified there will have to be integration to avoid the current (scheduling) clashes which don’t benefit anyone,” O’Grady added.

-Speaking of scheduling clashes, both Finchem and O’Grady said they are working to find a solution that would allow the top South Africans to play in this year’s Presidents Cup in Australia and the South African Open, which are scheduled to be played the same week in November. Meetings are scheduled the week of the Masters at Augusta National.

-On the possibility of the PGA Tour returning to Detroit Finchem said it is the circuit’s intention to hold another event in the Motor City, but he said he doesn’t expect it to come at the expense of the Heritage or the Bob Hope Classic, which are both struggling to find sponsors. “Right now, if I had to bet I’d say both (the Heritage and Hope) will be on the schedule,” Finchem said.

O'Grady will be featured on Monday evening's Golf Central.