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Calls for a global golf organisation dismissed

Calls for a new governing body in golf have been rejected by the Royal and Ancient Club and the United States Golf Association.

It was US Tour commissioner Tim Finchem who said in February that change was needed at the top.

He believes that there needs to be a discourse in order to solve the current controversy over clubs and balls.

But Peter Dawson, secretary of the Royal and Ancient, stated : "I think you will find that Tim is now supportive of the current rule-making structure.

"I think he is satisfied that we are working very hard and very closely with the USGA to resolve this problem.

"Discussions continue and I remain confident that there will be a return to uniformity. For the good of the game that return is almost more important than the issue itself."

Unable to agree a common stance about the technological advances greatly affecting the game, the R&A and the USGA went their separate ways, with some drivers banned on the US Tour being allowed on the European circuit and the rest of the world.

With the backing of other tours around the world Finchem had said two months ago: "We are strongly advocating that the United States Golf Association and Royal and Ancient work together to create a new, independent global body or entity that would be charged with the responsibility of making the rules of golf as they relate to equipment.

"To have two groups writing the rules for a global sport doesn't seem to us to make a lot of sense.

"There needs to be an overall philosophy so that the average golfer can understand why rules are being made.

"Another advantage would be just a fresh start with a new level of confidence in an independent body.

"That's just a suggestion. The current situation could be, I think, handled better.

"I think the USGA and the R&A are trying to make sure that we don't get a different set of rules again, but I do think that in the long term it would be important and helpful if those changes were made.

"It has been discussed by the International Federation of Tours and it is on the record in favour of this general concept. We encourage those bodies to at least look at this option. If the USGA and R&A determine that they wanted to work together on a new structure we would be available to assist in whatever way was appropriate.

"We don't feel like we have to be involved directly for it to be effective, but we could be. On balance we would prefer to stay out of the rule-making structure as it relates to equipment, but if it became important for all of golf to come together in this or in some way we could do that."

Dawson added today: "I think Tim recognises, as the European Tour does, that the tours are rules-followers rather than rules-makers.

"Rule-making, we think, should be detached from factional interests. We were concerned about that and put our thoughts across."

All sides involved met at the Players' Championship in March. The next rule changes will come into force for 2004 and could see uniformity restored.

"I think Tim will always reserve the right - he would be silly not to - to do what is best for his constituents," said Dawson.

"But what we have in place is an arrangement that has worked well in the past and will, I believe, continue to work well."

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