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Tim Finchem continues to eye global golf tour

Tim Finchem (Jason O. Watson/ Getty Images)

The PGA Tour has smaller circuits in Latin America, Canada and China. Commissioner Tim Finchem spoke in 2010 about golf heading toward a “world tour,” even though he wasn’t sure what it would look like or when it would all come together.

It’s worth paying attention to the activity of players over the last month.

Brandt Snedeker was in Japan for the Bridgestone Open. Jordan Spieth was in Japan last week at the Dunlop Phoenix, and he’s at the Australian Open this week. Webb Simpson was in Japan. Jason Dufner went to Thailand.

Finchem wants to see golf get through the 2016 Olympics – and the schedule problems that will present – before looking too far ahead.

“We need at least two and maybe three years of looking at the schedule in this environment with the wraparound,” he said earlier this month in Shanghai. “We need that experience before we start tinkering. In terms of fundamental schedule, we’re at least another year away from starting to think about that.”

But when asked about a world tour, Finchem made it sound as though the three satellite tours could be part of a larger, global picture.

“I think what we’re going to do – and are doing – is watching carefully not just this tour in China, but also South America and Canada,” he said. “And we’re spending more time evaluating the other core tours – the Asian Tour, Australia, South Africa – understanding more about co-sanctioning between Europe and some of these other tours. We’re just asking ourselves, overall, what’s the best mix?”

“Those two things dovetail,” he said. “We need to get a better sense of what the Olympics are going to do on the weeks it’s played and the weeks around it. And then that kind of feeds into the world schedule.”

Finchem said it was a “possibility” of co-sanctioning an event in Australia, though it didn’t sound as if the PGA Tour was headed in that direction.

Australia now has four big events on world schedule – the Masters, Open and PGA, along with Perth on the European Tour. This week in Sydney features Nos. 1 and 2 in the world with Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott, along with Spieth.

“We’ve got more big events around the world that are linked to the PGA Tour,” Scott said. “I think the ball is really in their court as to what direction we want to go. It certainly has got the power to dictate to tournaments when they are and where they are. … If I was the Australian Open or one of the other tournaments, I’d be knocking on Tim Finchem’s door and trying to make it a World Golf Championship.”