Blog Entry

Finchem to stick around for longer haul

Posted on: January 11, 2012 11:57 am
After expressing some initial hesitation last fall about whether he wanted to stick around as the captain of the PGA Tour ship, Tim Finchem was offered and accepted a four-year extension as commissioner by the tour's Policy Board, it was announced Wednesday.

Finchem has piloted the tour through a record growth era, fueled in large part by Tiger Woods' popularity, and last fall helped secure a 10-year TV rights contract with CBS and NBC, the tour's primary non-cable broadcasters.

“We have accomplished a lot, but there remains a great opportunity to continue to grow over the next four years,” Finchem said in a tour release. “It's an honor to work in such a wonderful sport with the world’s best athletes and a terrific management team. I look forward to continuing to work closely with them in the future.”

Finchem, 64, is signed through June, 2016. He took over as commissioner in 1994 when Deane Beman retired.

Among the items left on Finchem's plate is to re-sight the title sponsor of the FedEx Cup, whcih is an annual deal with an estimated price tag of $35 million.

Finchem's old deal was set to expire after the 2012 season.

Since: Dec 1, 2009
Posted on: January 24, 2012 7:34 am

Finchem to stick around for longer haul

Teres Minor, all that you say makes sense, but keep in mind that Tim got the networks to re-up in full view of the fall-out from his self-destruction. Those fellas know what they're doing, mostly, on the money side. Where you do go wrong, though, is in assuming that it's a mistake not to go 'hell-bent for leather' after the mythical 'casual fan'. Tiger at his peak is unduplicatable; chasing that sort of interest is like going butterfly netting in Antarctica. Good luck. Keep in mind the permanent mess that hockey has made for itself with its Southern strategy. (NASCAR, too.) Gretzky here today; Gretzky gone tomorrow. Obligations here to stay. The Tour has the unenviable task of repairing and replacing some long-time venue/sponsor/volunteer relationships that were all-too-casually 86'ed during the go-go years. There's not a lot of loyalty among carpetbaggers, which is why that duck is paddling so furiously beneath the waters.

You may have good reason to discount those lily-white golf & country club members who are the backbone of the sport here, but they ARE still the backbone. A not inconsiderable thing, when you contrast it to the pathetic excuses they have for crowds at most events on the European Tour that aren't held in the British Isles. (And even some of the latter.) 

Since: Dec 1, 2009
Posted on: January 24, 2012 7:18 am

Finchem to stick around for longer haul

However do you guys do propose and dispose of other people's business so efficiently and expeditiously? I'm impressed. And that do be sarcasm. There are more than one reason that the Tours poobahs don't 'lay down the law', but I'm here to tell you that the biggest one no longer is that Tiger doesn't wanna. (As, in years gone by. Jack and Tom and Lee didn't wanna.) Power has shifted and the Tour has no intention of squeezing the foreigners grapes on this. And too big a discrepancy between how they treat outsiders and their own might get a tad awkward. It's a give and take. Too, the rank and file among the players don't much mind a little extra opportunity for their kind.

Since: Jun 5, 2011
Posted on: January 16, 2012 4:07 pm

To clarify...

It may look like the tour is in great shape, but the ratings in Tiger's absence have proven otherwise.  Finchem can't depend on the US public's love/hate relationship with Tiger Woods to bail his tour out for too much longer.  I think Tiger will make a great comeback and eventually get the record he really wants, but how can anybody be sure?
Basically, Finchem has a nice niche product.  It does very well in one demographic: affluent white males over 40.  If he wants to transcend being a niche product, he needs to make it appeal to more people.  The only reason the mainstream viewer turns on golf is becuase of Tiger Woods.  Without Tiger Woods, Finchem would have been shown the door long ago.  

The bottom line is that we don't know how much longer any commissioner will be able to depend on Tiger Woods and put the tour on autopilot.  Finchem has to make this product appeal to the mainstream, and he has to find a way for the mainstream to have access to playing the game.  

Is that a lot to put on him?  Yes.  But he is getting paid pretty good money.   Maybe he should start earning it. 

Since: Jun 5, 2011
Posted on: January 16, 2012 3:58 pm

So, do something...

Finchem needs to grow the tour.  He also needs to address the problem with golf access for the working class.  Many of the Euros who have been beating the pants off of US players in major tournaments would never have had the opportunity to get good in the US.  The PGA needs to make its own version of First Tee, and mobilize a lot of donations to enable anyone with talent and drive to get all of the tutoring, play, and practice he needs to turn into a great golfer.  It would also help golf reach over to a different demographic.  

Mostly, though, he should fire Ty Votaw and not ever allow someone to try and politic the money title away from a Euro.  If you want to beat the Euros, do it on the course where it belongs.  Access for more golfers would help the cause immensely.  

I'm not holding my breath, though. 

Since: Sep 16, 2007
Posted on: January 11, 2012 10:56 pm

Finchem to stick around for longer haul

Yeah, I forgot about that one. I think they asked the players to include one more tournament in their schedule, a venue they don't normally play. Like that was going to have any effect. The top players do whatever they want, 16 - 18 tournaments a year, and the lesser players of course, play 25 times a year just to make enough money to keep their cards. All they have to do is tell them they must play at least 16 times to be eligible for the FedEx Cup tournaments. That would make 20 altogether, assuming they get to the final round. But so long as the money keeps rolling in from networks and advertising sponsors, Finchem won't change anything.

Since: Sep 18, 2006
Posted on: January 11, 2012 7:32 pm

Finchem to stick around for longer haul

Well said Rick, I couldn't agree with you more.

PMA! Thats hilarious! I mean really, lets get a guy in there that will make players like Tiger have to enter more tournaments in order to maintain status or something.  I want to watch a full field more than once every 6 weeks!

Since: Sep 16, 2007
Posted on: January 11, 2012 1:59 pm

Finchem to stick around for longer haul

So we can look forward to another four years of mediocrity: Secret POTY ballots, unpunished slow play, unannounced fines, Head Moron Ty Votaw unaware the season isn't over yet, indecisive judgement as to whether a tournament should be shortened to 54 holes because of weather, Tiny Tim off vacationing somewhere when a quick, important decision needs to be made, etc., etc. He's actually commissioner of the PMA - Professional Money Association; it's got very little to do with golf.

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