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European Tour denies PGA Tour takeover

The European Tour was founded in 1972 and is based at Wentworth in England.

Story highlights

  • European Tour denies possible takeover by PGA Tour
  • PGA Tour commissioner also dismisses talk of a bid for European Tour
  • High-profile stars have recently left the European Tour to head to the U.S.
  • The PGA Tour and European Tour jointly run the Ryder Cup

The chief executive of golf's European Tour has dismissed reports the organization could be bought out by its American counterpart the PGA Tour.

Reports claimed the U.S.-based PGA Tour wanted to take advantage of the current Eurozone financial crisis by launching a takeover of its European equivalent, which is based in England.

"The notion that the PGA Tour is somehow bidding to buy The European Tour is incorrect," the European Tour's chief operating officer Keith Waters said in a statement.

"The European Tour has collaborated with the PGA Tour and all other members of the International Federation of PGA Tours on many ventures since we worked together on the formation of the World Golf Championships in 1999," added Europe's chief executive George O'Grady.

"This collaboration will continue."

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The European Tour hosts well-established tournaments all over the world, including in the lucrative Asian market.

An acquisition of the European Tour would help the PGA Tour tap into potentially money-spinning countries such as China.

But O'Grady poured cold water on the rumors, reaffirming the European Tour's commitment to hosting events across the globe.

"At this time when many of our leading members are also members of the PGA Tour it is vital that we continue to work together to ensure the progression of tournament golf throughout the world," continued O'Grady.

"Over the past two weeks, 35 European Tour members played in the WGC Bridgestone Invitational while 58 competed in the US PGA Championship.

"We are delighted that our Members continue to fly the flag for the European Tour around the world, which not only gives them the opportunity to progress their individual careers but ourselves the chance to explore opportunities to our mutual benefit."

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PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem also denied the reports, but did say collaboration between the two bodies could increase revenue for the sport.

"Certain news reports today have indicated that the PGA Tour has made an offer to acquire the European Tour," he said in a statement. "Those reports are inaccurate.

"However, as I have stated publicly on several occasions, the integration of professional golf can create additional value for our players, sponsors and fans.

"Such integration has been ongoing since 1994, with the founding of the International Federation of PGA Tours, and has led to the establishment of the World Golf Championships in 1999 as well as the World Cup as a federation-sanctioned event.

"More recently, all the major golf bodies around the world worked together to bring golf back to the Olympic Games."

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The European Tour, founded in 1972, has recently seen top golfers like British duo Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood head across the Atlantic to play on the more lucrative PGA Tour.

The two tours jointly run the Ryder Cup, a biennial competition between the U.S. and Europe.

Graeme McDowell, a member of three European Ryder Cup teams who plays on the PGA Tour, has spoken out against a takeover, saying it could damage the Ryder Cup.

"If PGA Tour bought (sic) European Tour things like Ryder Cup rivalry would be gone," the 2010 PGA Championship winner said via his official Twitter account. "Yes our top players play mostly PGA but maintain Euro identity."