SI Vault
Pat Ryan
February 10, 1969
Pro golf, having survived its civil war, is still faced with many problems that its new tour commissioner, Joe Dey, must solve. Questioned about some of the more pressing ones last week, Dey offers his views
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February 10, 1969

Mr. Commissioner Speaks Out

Pro golf, having survived its civil war, is still faced with many problems that its new tour commissioner, Joe Dey, must solve. Questioned about some of the more pressing ones last week, Dey offers his views

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Q. Why did you take the job of commissioner of the Professional Golfers' Association tour?

A. There are two principal agencies in golf—the USGA and the PGA. The USGA seemed to be in good shape, but the PGA has had a long period of trial and tribulation. At one point the split between the PGA administration and the touring players looked almost irreconcilable. When the breach recently was healed it seemed to me there was an opportunity to help the game of golf by attempting to contribute to the new solidity of the PGA. It seemed another way of serving golf.

Q. Who is your boss in the PGA?

A. The Tournament Policy Board, which consists of four touring professionals, the three officers of the PGA and three noted businessmen. To me, the businessmen are very important in the setup. You had, formerly, just the two antagonists—the PGA administration and the players. The pros had their personal interests. The PGA had its direct interests. And they both should have. But now you have a balancing factor, the businessmen, who I believe will be able to see an issue in a well-rounded way and make a fair, practical decision. I think the players and the PGA will have the same attitude. I think they are all going to get caught up in something that is really transcendental—something that says the game is the thing, and the better the game the better our thing. I talked with one of the businessmen [they are Coca-Cola President Paul Austin; George Love, chairman of Consolidation Coal Company; and John Murchison, a Texas financier] and he said he would be surprised if we have any division on doctrinal lines. I feel the same way.

Q. In other words, you feel what might be called the philosophy of the buck will no longer be the dominating attitude?

A. You want the fellows to earn as much as they can. The worker is worthy of his hire, and I don't derogate fellows getting all the money they are entitled to. But to me quality is going to produce more money. You do a thing in the right way and everything needful follows. I believe that, and my hope is to put the emphasis on quality and let the money follow.

Q. Sponsors risk hundreds of thousands of dollars on tour events with almost no guarantee that any of the tour's stars will show up. Should there be a PGA policy to guarantee a certain percentage of the top 10 players in each event?

A. There is some sort of requirement now, and until I can review how it works—or does not work—I'd rather not make any definite statement. But, as a general proposition, I have observed the discomfiture of sponsors in the past when some leading players have not appeared, and it does seem that some measure of assurance ought to be given to sponsors that they will have X number of leading players. Remember, though, that the players are independent contractors. They are not on somebody's payroll. You can't force a fellow to go somewhere he doesn't want to go. But there is a happy medium somewhere. Certainly a lot of attention should be given to the sponsors' need for an attractive field, a representative field. They deserve it.

Q. The pros often complain of fatigue and about the year-round tour schedule. Do you think there ought to be a limit to the number of tournaments in a year?

A. I have felt for many years there should be two divisions of tournament golf. There is a satellite tour developing now. I think there will be four or five such satellite events this year. It could be that eventually you will have a limited number of so-called big-money tournaments, with the second tour feeding talent into the major tour. It seems to me if you have the incentive and ability to move up from a $50,000 tournament class to a $200,000 tournament class, then God bless you.

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