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Old, New Tours Would Prefer to Be on Course Than in Court : Golf: PGA's Finchem says it will be tough to get along with World Tour. Crenshaw-Calcavecchia lead Shark Shootout.

November 20, 1994|THOMAS BONK | TIMES STAFF WRITER

You don't need to know geography to figure out the World Golf Tour. A law degree might come in handy.

Both sides in the golf war drew lines in the bunkers Saturday when the World Tour vowed to begin in 1995 and PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem said he doesn't see how it's possible.

Finchem, who met with World Tour spokesman Greg Norman and a number of PGA Tour players Friday night, released a statement that said it would be "extremely difficult" to accommodate the new tour.

He also told CBS that a task force will be created to study the situation and a meeting will be held Tuesday at Ponte Vedra, Fla., with World Tour organizers and Norman's representatives.

Finchem emphasized that the PGA Tour hoped to avoid "a confrontation," a court battle over the rights of golfers to play in non-PGA Tour events.

"Let's hope it doesn't come to that," said Frank Williams, who is Norman's business adviser.

"Remember, the last thing Greg Norman wants to do is to leave the PGA Tour," said Williams, who pointed out that players ought to be allowed to play anywhere as long as they meet the PGA Tour minimum of 15 events.

"It's a restriction of trade otherwise," Williams said. "That's what the (PGA Tour's) problem is with the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) at the moment."

In his statement, Finchem said that changes must benefit golf and "not just individual participants."

Norman said he has no personal financial interest in the World Tour, except to make up any potential financial losses the tour might incur in its first year.

He also said he will have nothing to do with the television production of the events for Fox, which is underwriting the proposed eight-event venture at $3 million per tournament.

"I'm not in it for the money," Norman said.

Williams said he hopes there is room for compromise with the PGA Tour. He said it is possible that the World Tour could establish new events that run head-to-head against PGA Tour events or that existing PGA Tour events take on the World Tour format of using the top 30 players in the world.

"Perhaps there is a compromise (that) we don't go with as many events in the first season," Williams said.

But there is no question when the World Tour will begin, Williams said.

"We are going to do it in '95, no matter what," he said.

"If we wait for the PGA Tour . . . it's taken 30 years already. How long do we wait?"

Norman said he told Finchem that their being thrown together in this arena was destiny.

"I'm sure (former commissioner) Deane Beman probably never would have met me," Norman said.

*

Ben Crenshaw and Mark Calcavecchia shot a 10-under par 62 Saturday to lead the Franklin Funds Shark Shootout by one stroke.

Crenshaw and Calcavecchia lead the team of Lanny Wadkins and Andrew Magee and the team of Fred Couples and Brad Faxon going into the final round today at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks.

Crenshaw and Calcavecchia are at 131 after Saturday's best-ball format.

After a miserable day putting Friday, Crenshaw made an adjustment. He sawed an inch off the top of the shaft of his putter.

Couples and Faxon shot 64, and their 132 total is tied for second with Wadkins and Magee, who had a 66.

Going into the final round, when the scramble format will be used, five of the 10 teams are within four shots of the lead, including Norman and Nick Price, who shot 63 and are at 135.

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