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Australian PGA Tour chief resigns

The troubled Australasian PGA Tour suffered another major blow on Wednesday when chief executive Andy Laidlaw quit.

Tour chairman Wayne Grady said Laidlaw's resignation would force yet another delay to the release of the 2001-02 playing schedule.

The tour dates were supposed to be released last month but were postponed when the promoters of the Greg Norman International, Australia's richest annual event, cancelled their tournament because of a dispute over television rights.

There had been speculation in the local media that other events were in danger of folding because of growing uncertainty among sponsors.

And some promoters were even threatening to start a breakaway tour unless they resolved their differences with the PGA.

Grady said Laidlaw resigned because of "differences" with the board but said his departure would not have an impact on the tour, except to delay the announcement by another week.

But Grady, who celebrated his win in the 1990 U.S. PGA championship with the unforgettable "you bloody beauty," said he was concerned about the damage being done to the tour's reputation and hoped to reassure players the tour would proceed as planned.

"I know the players overseas have been frustrated but we are now sending communications to them to bring them up to date," Grady said.

"The people in place here are very confident of their ability to keep things running."

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