Feb
24
2011
Flashback to ’94: McIlroy Suggests a World Golf Tour (See: “Norman, Greg”)
By Stephanie Wei under European PGA Tour

Rory McIlroy tweeted on Thursday morning, “Anyone think a world tour like they have in tennis would be good for golf? I think it would be great for the game.” Which was probably partly prompted by an @reply he received from an ignorant follower, saying, “RT @Reeds19 @McIlroyRory Join the PGA Tour, then you can talk about the next generation. No one respects a European Tour player in the US.” Um, false, and don’t worry, Rory’s aware “a massive majority of people don’t think like that idiot.”

See “Norman, Greg” for some history on starting a World Golf Tour. From my understanding, that idea didn’t go over too well in Ponte Vedra. In ’94 Norman and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp supported a World Golf Tour, a 10-event championship tour of the world’s top golfers, marketed and televised by Fox and Mr. Murdoch’s other global TV properties. The PGA Tour and Tim Finchem claimed the WGT violated its rules that regulated where and when its players may play, triggering an FTC investigation. When the FTC upheld Tour bylaws that limit player participation in non-PGA Tour events, it allowed the commish to crush Norman’s world tour vision in ’96.

Here’s this via golf.com’s Best Feuds in Golf:

Start a World Golf Tour that would let the best compete head-to-head more often. Tim Finchem had a better idea. He told the Shark, “over my dead body,” then snatched the idea for himself, calling it the World Golf Championships.

Technically, Rory is playing in a world golf tour event this week — just a bastardized version of Norman’s original idea and not like the pro tennis model. But I agree with Rory that it’s a good idea and makes sense.

Oh, wait, “I believe there already is a world tour and it’s called ‘Tiger’s schedule,’” Golf.com’s Mike Walker pointed out to me.

Maybe a World Golf Tour “like in tennis” isn’t on the horizon in the next five years, but it’s probably headed that direction over the next decade if the suits could communicate and compromise. Either way, food for thought.

(AP Photo/Nousha Salimi)