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Masters highlights growing pains of global golf
Question of the Day
The date clash was resolved last week at the Masters when Sunshine Tour officials agreed to move the South African Open one week later, swapping dates with another South African event.
It also picked up a World Golf Championship, although some critical details have yet to be filled in. One is the sponsorship of a tournament with a $10 million purse. The other is when it would be played.
The International Federation of PGA Tours met last week at the Masters to sort out this mess.
“The sense was that a World Golf Championship event in South Africa would be a good thing if it could be worked out in terms of sponsorship and a date, and we gave them the OK to look into it,” said Ed Moorhouse, the PGA Tour’s co-chief operating officer. “There’s no secret it’s a pretty busy time of the year. We still have a lot of elements that need to be worked out, not the least of which is the date.”
Tindall said he was looking at the first week of December, which presents only more problems. That’s the date of Chevron World Challenge that Tiger Woods hosts in California, not to mention the Nedbank Challenge in South Africa.
“They will have to move it, unfortunately for them,” Tindall said, referring to the Chevron. He said Woods’ event moved opposite the Nedbank last year without anyone speaking to South African officials, “so I suppose it’s a bit of payback time.”
Most new tournaments try to attract Woods. Tindall sounds like he’s doing all he can to keep Woods away.
Greg McLaughlin, who runs the Chevron World Challenge, said he would consider a date change, though the options are limited.
“It’s a very ideal date for us, the first weekend in December, and it works well for the network, our sponsor and all the players,” he said. “We’d look at other options, but there’s really not many options around that time frame.”
This is where golf has to be careful.
It’s great to see the game moving around the world, especially with so many great players coming from so many countries. Sunday at the Masters was a snapshot of modern golf _ players from every continent where golf is played atop the leaderboard at some point during the final round at Augusta National.
But it won’t work without cooperation.
The last two months of the year are busier than ever. Europe concludes its season in Asia with the Race to Dubai, Australia is in the prime of its season, Japan has some of its biggest events, and the World Cup is held every other year in China. Is there room for two World Golf Championships a month apart separated by 7,000 miles on opposite sides of the hemisphere?
Schwartzel said last week that while America is big, “the world is bigger.”
But the more golf grows around the world, the more crowded it gets.
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