Of course, it's unlikely that Greg Norman, John Montgomery Jr. and Fox-TV, who first came up with the idea, will have anything to do with the series of international events that are now under discussion.
Norman and friends dropped their World Tour bombshell last November, hoping to take advantage of an anticipated FTC decision that would have freed players from PGA Tour bylaws that limit their participation in non-Tour events. Such a decision could have made Norman's circuit a reality. Now that Tour commissioner Tim Finchem is free and clear of that investigation and still has control over his players, he is moving ahead with plans of his own for an undetermined number of "sanctioned major international all-tours events" before the decade is out. The first event is already set. Called the—what else?—World Championship, it is under consideration for 1998.
While some think that Finchem's proposal is nothing more than window dressing, he did go so far as to create the World Forum of PGA Tours, composed of the U.S., European, South African, Australian and Japanese tours. The group has met three times and established a staff to work out the logistics of what Finchem called "some specially designed or a designated series of events" that tie into the World Championship.
And what does Norman's outfit think of all this? Although a World Tour office remains open in Atlanta, staffers assume that for them the game is over.
"If the FTC had ruled differently, we would have had options," says Terry Kelley, director of marketing for Montgomery Sports. Now all the options appear to be Finchem's.
Teacher of the Year
With disciples Nick Price and Nick Faldo combining for one measly victory this season, the bloom has gone off David Leadbetter's rose. Who has replaced him as the hottest instructor in golf? It's Butch Harmon, who works with both Greg Norman and Tiger Woods.
Harmon hit a golf guru's version of the daily double last month when on the same day that he was at Newport Country Club watching Woods win the U.S. Amateur, Norman came from six strokes back in the final round to win the World Series of Golf. "I was already excited about Tiger winning, and when I was told about Greg, I just leaped in the air," Harmon said. "That day I think I was happier than Greg or Tiger."
Harmon has been working with Norman since 1991 and started with Woods last year. In both cases Harmon tightened long and loose swings to create better ball flight. He widened Norman's stance to help him rotate instead of slide. By also flattening his swing path, Norman is able to keep his club on plane as his lower body rotates. "I wanted him to use his lower body more," Harmon said. "In Tiger's case, he used his lower body too much. He went at it too hard. Now his lower body and arm speed match up better."
Harmon is the oldest son of the late Claude Harmon, the 1948 Masters champion. One brother, Craig, is head professional at Oak Hill, site of next week's Ryder Cup, while another, Dick, has taught Fred Couples, Lanny Wadkins, Steve Elkington and Craig Stadler. Harmon's youngest brother, Billy, is head pro at Newport Country Club. "We have two sisters, and they really feel left out," says Dick.