Truth and Rumors: A new pro tour for Middle East, Africa

A New Tour in Town With the European Tour already stealing some of the spotlight from its American counterpart, it should come as no surprise that international golf is gearing up for even more expansion. Bernie McGuire has an update on the newest kid on the block: The MENA Tour.

Golfers from the Middle East and North Africa will have more opportunities to develop with the creation of a new tour, vice chairman and CEO of Golf in Dubai Mohamed Juma Buamaim said Wednesday.The new MENA (Middle East North Africa) Tour would create "windows of playing opportunities" for professionals and amateurs in the region and would commence with four tournaments from 2012, Buamaim said at the launch."There is no shortage of talent in the Middle East and North Africa region and even the facilities are second to none, but the players lack regular exposure to high-class competitions, so hopefully this new tour will create the right environment and develop their skills.
Obviously, professional golf is no stranger to the Middle East (most of the best players in the world are in playing in Dubai this very moment), so this new Tour seems like a no-brainer. The only potential downside? If MENA starts putting on some great (and lucrative) events to lure players from other tours, we may see less of this, and more of this. Optimists Rush In The good news? The LPGA has managed to find a sponsor and plan their "Founders Cup" event in record time. The bad news? As John Davis Arizona's The Republic discusses, many top players are unhappy with the event's "unique" payout plan.
What makes it unique is that there is not a prize purse. There will be a fictitious purse of $1.3 million, and players will receive credit on the money list for what they would have earned as well as world ranking, player of the year and other points. Instead of prize money, $500,000 will go to LPGA-USGA Girls Golf, a nationwide program that was founded in the Valley to introduce girls to the game...
Some of the tour's more-popular players, such as Cristie Kerr, Paula Creamer and Morgan Pressel, have publicly questioned the event. None of them has committed to play... 
"It's a great idea, but went from concept to an event on the schedule too quickly without enough input from the players," Kerr told Golf Channel. "It's turned what was an opportunity into an obligation."
It's rare to see a tournament (especially a charity tournament) draw such negative statements from players. But lest you assume that the pros who haven't committed to play are "uncharitable," it actually sounds like the main point of contention is that (due to a lack of local sponsorship) too little of the prize pool is going to the designated causes. This story may not be over -- LPGA commish Michael Whan isn't likely to ignore the collective voice of his tour's biggest stars, and there's still time to turn this negative attention into a positive. Pic of the Day John-daly-bag Oh yes, that's John Daly's new bag. So what? So let's dance!

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by Kevin Cunningham