In another of golf's worst kept secrets, the tours are taking the WGC World Cup to China. Announcing the move were George O'Grady, Jon Linen, Tim Finchem and various dignitaries from new host site Mission Hills.
Wow, it looks like the World Cup has been sav...eh, maybe not...
Q. So it will not be the World Cup after two years, or it could be?
GEORGE O'GRADY: It could be; it's unlikely.
Q. So Jon, your reaction to that, are you already investigating other possibilities beyond the two year period?
JON LINEN: We would work with the Federation and cross that bridge when we get there. Right now we know we're going to be where we're going to be for the next two years.
We know we're going to be where we're going to be for the next two years. Whoa, I think that calls for a little mop-up from the $7 million man.
TIM FINCHEM: If I could just comment on this, I think what's happened is we've had a coalescence of three different things come together. One is the opportunity to have a World Golf Championship event supported in China for more than a decade; the second is that we feel strongly that at this particular point in time the priority is to bring top flight PGA TOUR level golf to China and to Asia; the third thing is we want to perpetuate the World Cup.
So we've addressed all of these things in a way that we've unfolded here today, which is we're going to take advantage of the commitment that China and Mission Hills has provided, we're going to perpetuate the World Cup for the next two years at Mission Hills. We intend to have World Championship golf for the ten years beyond that, but how that unfolds after the next two years is yet to be determined for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is as George mentioned, the world calendar is reasonably set through 2008. There are issues with the tournament structures and dates after that, in addition to these format issues.
So we will address those as we get to them over the next year, year and a half, but in the meantime we're going to focus our energies on making the World Cup as good as we can make it at Mission Hills for the next two years.
Ah, much better. Those multiple "perpetuate" references are so much tighter than "We know we're going to be where we're going to be for the next two years." That's why he gets the big bucks!
Q. Is there a fear that the World Golf Championship events will be devalued by the fact that most or all will be in America for the next ten years, foreseeable future, and then the next one will be in China for 12 years; will it become stale after so many years?
GEORGE O'GRADY: From a European Tour point of view? I think everybody can have a view on it. I think it's been well chronicled that when all the World Golf Championships or the stroke play events, the Accenture, have been played in America. Not all of us were totally best pleased. But if we have to look at the force of the world economy where it goes, I mean, if we are sitting here, if I'm allowed to say so, a tremendous European victory in the Ryder Cup Matches just finished, and various people have said, why. Now, reading the papers for the last two days, better people than myself can work that out in a playing sense.
Q. With that said, George, when is the next window of opportunity for one of these things to be in Europe?
TIM FINCHEM: After 2010 probably.
Nice rescue by the Commissioner.