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PGA Tour considering launching TV network

Lights, cameras ... welcome to the PGA Tour Network?

Commissioner Tim Finchem hinted Sunday that the tour might follow the NFL and NBA by launching its own television network, with the revamped schedule in 2007 providing the likely jumping-off point for such a venture.

``Every other sport has their channel,'' Finchem said during the final round of the season-ending Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club. ``That's not lost on us.''

The tour already has its own production division and wouldn't have to come up with an exorbitant amount of money to start a full-fledged network.

``We've always believed we're prepared to do it,'' Finchem said. ``We can handle it in short order if we need to.''

The PGA Tour's current television package expires after the 2006 season, and Finchem already has announced plans for a major shakeup to the schedule the following year.

There will be a season-long points race called the FedEx Cup, featuring three blockbuster events leading to the Tour Championship, which will be moved up to September.

The post-Tour Championship schedule is expected to include about a half-dozen events, mainly for players who are trying to earn their tour card for the following year.

Those tournaments could wind up on the tour's own network.

``If we did our own service, obviously we'd be looking at programing,'' Finchem said. ``Just look at what the NBA and NFL have done. They have their own service and take pieces of programming to support it. We would be in the same position of having to do that.''

Finchem stressed that the tour would have to come up with enough programming to keep the network going year round. A few late-season events aren't enough.

``That in and of itself wouldn't lead us to do our own network,'' he said. ``It would just be a piece of the puzzle.''

On another issue, Finchem said the tour is considering official events in Asia and South Africa that would be coordinated with the other tours already operating in those parts of the world.

``The federation (that encompasses) the other tours is coming together more and more every year,'' he said.

November 7, 2005

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