The Men's International Professional Tennis Council, meeting in Dallas yesterday, adopted new rules for the 1979 Colgate Grand Prix tournament series, which will offer approximately $12 million in prize money.
Next year, each player competing for the $2 million Grand Prix bonus pool, which is divided among the top finishers in season long point standings, will be required to play in six tournaments designed by the council. Three of those will be in the $50,000 to $75,000 range.
This rule replaces the current requirement that a player compete in a minimum of 20 Grand Prix tournaments to be eligible for bonus money. The council is attempting to strengthen weak tournaments by assigning top players to them.
Moreover, players who do not sign a commitment to abide by Grand Prix rules will be ineligible to compete next year in any Grand Prix event, including Wimbledon, the U.S.. Open and other major international championships.
The council also adopted new rules to penalize players who compete in exhibition matches or "special events" on the same week as $175,000 Grand Prix tournaments more than three times in a year.
Players will be free to compete in exhibitions or "special events" during 20 weeks of the season-the 17 weeks when no $175,000 plus Grand Prix tournaments are scheduled, and three weeks when they are-without penalty.