Is a World Tour on the Horizon?


PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem is well aware that golf - and the rising skills of professional golfers around the world - is becoming a true global game. That was never more evident than by the performances this year of European players, who won two of the game's four major championships, with the other winner being a South African in the British Open.

The Europeans also showed their continued dominance in the Ryder Cup, winning for the sixth time in the past eight matches and ninth in the past 13.

Though Finchem and other officials are discussing the possibility of a "world tour," the big issue is getting all entities involved in such a broad venture to agree on the particulars.

"I think that at some point in time, men's professional golf will become integrated globally," Finchem told the Associated Press. "Now, what form that takes, whether it's a total integration, whether it's a FIFA-type, I don't know. One question is how the competition is organized. Another question is how the organizational structure behind it is organized. The first one is the key thing."

The tournaments and players - whether American, European, Asian or from another country - are now, more than ever, being sponsored by companies with an international reach. For example, Phil Mickelson is sponsored by Barclays, which promotes tournaments in Singapore, Scotland and New York. "Lefty" played in all those events in 2010.

The PGA Tour also has such multinational title sponsors as Deutsche Bank and BMW (both FedEx Cup playoff events), Accenture and Zurich. "I think it's a matter of time," Finchem added.

"Golf generally is a splintered sport, multi-organizational at every level. But there's movement. The last 15 years there's been a lot of movement. I would see that continuing to develop toward integration."

The PGA Tour concluded officially with the Fall Series, culminated by the Tour Championship, which was won this year by American Jim Furyk. Yet big events filled out the rest of the year's slate, including the European Tour's Race to Dubai, won by Germany's up-and-coming Martin Kaymer, who also won the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.

Finchem says that he and European Tour Chief Executive George O'Grady have been "working together" on developing tournaments that will either be co-sponsored or take some other cooperative form.

"We're not going to play a ton of tournaments over there, so it shouldn't be a problem. George knows that," Finchem said. "We're talking to him constantly about what our plan would be. My guess is it will result in us doing even more together."


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