Another Norman Flashback

Ron Sirak writes in Golf World that he hopes Greg Norman's threatened lawsuit is not about petty vengeance.

This July, 2003 Golf Magazine interview with Peter Kessler may indicate what Greg Norman wants to know about the PGA Tour's financial dealings.

How do you think the Tour is doing these days running the business end?

I still am unhappy about it. I really don't think we know the entire story. Because when I speak to some of my business friends about certain ways the Tour operates, they say they couldn't do that in their world. It always intrigues me that they have this huge business. It is hard to be a master of everything and if you dilute yourself too much, sometimes you lose a little focus.

That is the most careful response I have ever heard from you.

When I spoke out on this at the end of last year, the message I was sending was to the 21-year-olds, not the 30- or 40-year-olds. I wanted them to think: OK, everything is great right now and your future looks fantastic, but where will you be when you are 45 or 50? Where will the Tour be? There is no business in the world that can sustain that growth curve that the PGA Tour is on. If there is a correction, how are they going to manage it?

Put your mind to it. Find out where the money is going. Find out how big the administration is. Find out what actually goes on. It is very difficult to get an answer, but if you are young enough and you ask the questions, you eventually will get the answers. It is the players' Tour. It is not one administration person's Tour. The players have every right to do all they can do to understand the internal workings.

If you were appointed commissioner for a day, which three things would you tackle first?

I would take a look at the players' pension. The retirement plan is an asset of the Tour. But let's just say there is another Ping scenario. [The company sued the Tour in 1989.] That asset is vulnerable. The Tour's so-called retirement plan goes poof. It is not a true pension plan where it is protected.

I would like to really understand the structure of the TPCs [Tournament Players Clubs], how profitable they are. I see the annual report, but it is not a full-blown, in-line report.

In all the years I have been involved in golf, I have never been asked to give my opinion. Yes, we have these forms to fill out. And we have our players meetings, our Players Advisory Council, and our player directors. That's wonderful, but still I think you need to tie into the best players because they do have some good sense. I'm talking about four or five players. The problem with the Tour is that it's one man, one vote. A vast majority of the players are happy with the security blanket instead of saying they want to build this thing to be a better, safer, longer-lasting organization.