The PGA Tour has shot down rumours that they are planning an $8m event at Ballyliffin in Donegal next summer.
The Tour’s Executive Vice President and Chief of Global Communications, Ty Votaw, insisted in a telephone interview: “It is absolutely not true.
“But if you have the number of the American sponsor who is based in Dublin who supposedly wants to sponsor an $8m tournament, can you give him my number?”
The PGA Tour is highly sensitive to stories about a US invasion of European Tour territory after being forced to deny rumours of a bid to buy out the European circuit just two weeks ago.
Votaw said: “I would say nothing precludes [us from having a PGA Tour event in Ireland] other than the positive relationship we have with the European Tour.
“Anything we would do in Europe we would do with the European Tour.
“I cannot foresee a circumstance whereby we would do something unilaterally without the European Tour being involved in the discussion in the event that we did something in Europe.”
The PGA Tour issued a statement recently dismissing media reports that they were about to launch a takeover of the European Tour.
“Those stories were inaccurate and we sent statement out on behalf of the Commissioner Tim Finchem to that effect,” Votaw said.
“We talk to the European Tour all the time and we have collaborated with the European Tour on a number of things in the past and will continue to do that.
“Whether that results some day in some further activity that might raise the value and proposition for our players, who knows what the future holds.
“But the word that we are going to acquire the European Tour is simply inaccurate.”
Talk of a PGA Tour event in Donegal appeared on the GolfCentralDaily.com blog but Ballyliffin sources quickly denied there was any truth in the story. If anything, it has merely served to get the stunning, 36-hole venue into the news.
As for Votaw, he’d love to come back to Ireland after enjoying himself on a recent break.
“I love Ireland,” he said. “I was there this summer in Kilkenny for the Bruce Springsteen concerts there and had the greatest time in a couple of Irish pubs that were filled with the nicest people on the face of the earth.”
The US circuit makes no secret of its desire to expand overseas but has no immediate plans to compete with Europe for more business in Asia, Votaw said.
“Not at this time, no,” he said. “We have two events in Asia and the World Cup in Australia but we don’t see a fourth in that part of the world in 2014 but it just depends on what opportunities present themselves. We are just pleased with the three events we have right now.”
As for the possibility of a WGC event in Ireland around the time of The Open, he added with chuckle: “It sure would be nice but the report I saw was about June in Ireland and that doesn’t qualify as a run up to the Open. It’s more a run up to the US Open.”
Commissioner Finchem was spotted merrily tucking into a bag of crisps at Royal Portrush shortly before last year’s Open Championship - he was in town to play golf - but the presence of PGA Tour officials in Ireland has been purely leisure driven in recent years.
“I love Ireland,” Votaw said. “I was there this summer in Kilkenny for the Bruce Springsteen concerts there and had the greatest time in a couple of Irish pubs that were filled with the nicest people on the face of the earth.”