"We want to give them a solid option, where they have a choice and don't have to go to America if they don't want to."

John Huggan turns on his tape recorder and lets George "I'm prone to pissing people off" O'Grady share the European Tour's scheduling philosophy. And there are a few other jabs, including one at the President's Cup.

"We are looking at where we have really good courses, really good climates and a lot of money available," he continues. "Those are the areas we will be focusing on. We will shortly be announcing some of the things we are doing in 2009, at which time it will be obvious where we are headed. We will be looking to create clusters of tournaments that are attractive to the global players. We want to give them a solid option, where they have a choice and don't have to go to America if they don't want to."

While that is as much as O'Grady is prepared to say on the subject at this stage, the smart money is on the Middle East tournaments - those in Abu Dhabi, Qatar and Dubai - moving from their current early-season slots to somewhere near the end. China, too, is sure to figure large in the newly reconfigured European line-up.

"By the end of 2009 the new framework will be well established," reveals O'Grady. "It will be very clear what we are trying to do, although we will still have some work to do. I don't think we will ever have the schedule exactly the way we want it, so it is hard to put a time on how long it will take us to get there. We have to be aware of the whole world."

And on the Cups... 

"The American players are all very committed to the Ryder Cup," contends O'Grady, whose lack of cynicism on this subject is hardly shared by all informed observers. "There is such passion for the event. And the tension on the first tee is comparable to Sunday afternoon at a major championship. When Tiger Woods arrived on the first tee at the K Club last year, he was really tight. That tee-shot he hit into the lake was indicative of that.

"The Presidents Cup is very different. I sat on the first tee there this year and it was all very nice. There was plenty of banter and everyone was friendly. In contrast, you daren't speak on the first tee at the Ryder Cup.

"So I think the players would let the PGA Tour know if they needed a bigger gap between the Fed-Ex Cup and the Ryder Cup. But the Ryder Cup is far more important to me than it is to Tim Finchem. I'm not sure how aggravating he finds it that we are involved in the Ryder Cup and the PGA Tour is not, other than sharing a bit in the television revenue.

"If you take the view that whatever the PGA Tour does regarding the Ryder Cup is for the benefit of its membership, then it is a benevolent dictatorship. I don't think what has been done with the Fed-Ex Cup was done to hurt the Ryder Cup; it is merely a by-product."