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.
Posted on: November 6, 2011 2:16 pm
Something about throwing rocks and glass houses comes to mind.
After the HSBC Champions event concluded in Shanghai on Sunday night, the commissioners of the PGA and European tours offered a joint statement about the perceived racial slur that had been directed at Tiger Woods by his former caddie, Steve Williams.
Considering the game's often shameful racial history, Williams' comment became a global issue within hours, though it took two days for the tours to muster up any comment.
It was not worth the wait.
“The International Federation of PGA Tours feels strongly there is no place for any form of racism in ours or any other sport,” the statement said. “We consider the remarks of Steve Williams, as reported, entirely unacceptable in whatever context.
"We are aware that he has apologized fully and we trust we will not hear such remarks ever again. Based on this, we consider the matter closed, and we will have no further comment.”
How hollow are those words, which weren't even attributed to a particular individual? Decide for yourself.
The PGA Tour is empowered to sanction caddies, but in this case the Ponte Vedra brass elected to stand back and take no action beyond issuing a weak tongue-lashing delivered to media via email and fax machine.
Yet in 2008, when the Golf Channel and Golfweek magazine became jointly embroiled in a similar racially tinged issue after a network employee bungled an attempt at humor on the air about Woods that included the phrase, "lynch him in a back alley," the tour ultimately seized on the moment.
After Golfweek published a cover shot of a hangman's noose in an attempt to underscore the jarring imagery of the network's words, PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem accused the magazine of tabloid journalism.
"We consider Golfweek's imagery of a swinging noose on its cover to be outrageous and irresponsible," Finchem said. "It smacks of tabloid journalism. It was a naked attempt to inflame and keep alive an incident that was heading to an appropriate conclusion."
Appropriate in his mind, anyway. Yet when presented three years later with the opportunity to sanction a de facto employee for a similar verbal offense -- again, the tour has the power to discipline caddies even though they are not payroll employees -- Finchem did what he has always done.
The tour already had a multi-year contract in place with the Golf Channel and also had a deal with Golf Digest, which publishes GolfWorld, a competing weekly to Golfweek. Surely, it was just a coincidence.
"We have partnerships with a lot of media companies," tour communications chief Ty Votaw said at the time. "This was an editorial decision that Tim was expressing an opinion about. I don't think anyone should read anything else into it. It was simply a reaction to the image on the cover."
When it comes to reacting to disturbing images created by the words of those inside his own gallery ropes, different standards apply.
Posted on: November 6, 2011 10:33 am
Edited on: November 6, 2011 10:40 am
What, you were expecting swift justice, some semblance of accountability, or at least a measure of transparency?
Slow learners, we are.
Sunday night in Shanghai, after the big-money HSBC Champions event concluded, the commissioners of the PGA and European tours offered a joint statement about the weekend’s other hot-button matter, the perceived racial slur uttered at an off-site banquet Friday night by controversial caddie Steve Williams.
In at apparent attempt at humor at the off-color awards banquet, the longtime bagman of Tiger Woods described his over-the-top celebration after new boss Adam Scott won in August as an attempt to “shove it up his black arse----.”
Williams was denigrating about Woods, his boss for parts of 13 years until he was sacked at midsummer, leaving the caddie feeling bitter and betrayed.
Given the game’s history as it relates to racial issues -- Woods is the lone player of African-American blood with exempt status in 2012 -- the condemnation was swift from all corners of the globe. However, it took two days for the tours to offer any formal comment, and when the wrist-slap was issued, it implied that zero punitive measures were taken.
“The International Federation of PGA Tours feels strongly there is no place for any form of racism in ours or any other sport,” the statement began.
Just not strongly enough to offer any sanction, apparently.
“We consider the remarks of Steve Williams, as reported, entirely unacceptable in whatever context,” the statement said. “We are aware that he has apologized fully and we trust we will not hear such remarks ever again. Based on this, we consider the matter closed, and we will have no further comment.”
This clears a path for Williams to caddie for Aussie-born Scott at the Australian Open later this week and next week at the Presidents Cup matches, where Williams, a New Zealander, will be a sideshow to the story – Woods is playing in both events.
Just another reminder that when it comes to discipline, the sport is long on talk and short on corrective action, especially the U.S. tour. John Daly had an inches-thick disciplinary file that was released in 2010 as part of a lawsuit, and it was learned that despite more suspensions and sanctions than any player in tour history, he had been fined approximately $100,000.
Faced with yet another chance to do the right thing, the professional game’s top officials did what they have done best for years – talked the talk, but skipped the walk.