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August 17, 2014

Tim Finchem


TIM FINCHEM:テつ Hi, everybody.テつ I'm just here for the afternoon to visit with our sponsors and tournament people and we thought we would make ourselves available to see if you have any questions about anything.
Obviously, we're excited about the 75th Anniversary of this tournament.テつ I had an opportunity in 1989 to travel around with Sam Sneed for three days on a book tour and all he could talk about was how he loves Greensboro and the golfers here and his time at the tournament and it's had a great history.テつ We've got a great finish ahead of us already.

Q.テつ Can you talk about the evolution of this tournament, the 75 years, the tournaments don't go this long usually but how it's been able to survive and thrive here?
TIM FINCHEM:テつ It's kind of interesting.テつ It's had a few moments like every tournament does where all the parts didn't come together for a period of time, a few months, and it looked like maybe it was going to struggle but it's always come back strong, I think more in the last few years than ever.
Great sponsors in Wyndham and BB&T.テつ Terrific work by the tournament organization here, really good golf course.テつ Every year -- I mean now in my view at least in the last 8, 10 years the tournament has done what you really want to see a PGA TOUR event do, that's get better every year.
The only way to get better every year, the folks, the volunteers, the tournament management, the sponsors need to work together to identify every year another list of things that could be done better and then next year go ahead and get them done better and then have a new list.
I think probably the best run tournament on the planet is the Masters.テつ I'll a little partial to The Players but those tournaments just get better every year and they never stop getting better and if you do that, you excite the fans, you excite the players, sponsors and things move on.
So, it's been a good trend here.

Q.テつ Commissioner, are you happy with the way the wraparound schedule has worked out in the first year?
TIM FINCHEM:テつ We are.テつ We really like the wraparound schedule.テつ Certainly strengthened the fall events significantly and we're starting to see the repercussions of that now and the next couple of years in terms of purse growth, quality of those tournaments.
It certainly has given us a FedExCup standings list to promote as we get into the holiday season which is a great time to promote golf during the holidays, Christmas holidays, and so we have a run up to that that gives us that leaderboard that we talk about.
The wraparound also allowed us to complete the season, everything at the same time, the Tour Championship, which we've never done and so, you know, we're identifying the Arnold Palmer Award Winner, putting out the ballots for the Jack Nicklaus Trophy for Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year, all that stuff comes to a head at the same time.
So the fans can see a really distinctive season.テつ The only weakness, if you can call it that, is that with the fall events strengthening, it's put a little pressure on access for the Web.com Tour graduates.テつ We don't know whether that's a one year phenomena or something that will continue, we'll keep an eye on it.
That's kind of a good problem to have, actually, but we'll watch that because we want to make sure we're providing enough access to players coming off the Web.com Tour.

Q.テつ Are you going to make any changes along those lines for '14, '15?
TIM FINCHEM:テつ No.テつ We're going to take another -- we're going to wait a year and take another hard look at year two before we jump to do anything.
Having said that, we are definitely going to add a couple tournaments to the schedule.テつ We're doing some other things to create some playing opportunities to affect it but in terms of the structural changes, we'll stay the course for another year.

Q.テつ Talk a little bit about The Playoffs upcoming and how we've identified some new players like Jimmy Walker, you know.
TIM FINCHEM:テつ You know, it kind of feels to me like we are in the playoffs.テつ The Wyndham is kind of a play in and, you know, you see this field affected by players who really need to play well to get in next week which is the same phenomena you have during The Playoffs and then you see players who are in but want to improve their position.
In that sense, it is part of The Playoffs and, you know, we like to think of the FedExCup as starting when we start the season in October and go in the year and then it just escalates and so that's had a very positive effect on this week.
We're excited about The Playoffs.テつ It's a little different this year, we are four in a row so if you play this week you have five in a row.テつ If you played the PGA Championship and this week that's six in a row conceivably to get to Atlanta.テつ If you played Bridgestone PGA, it's a lot of golf and stamina is going to be an issue and then we'll take a week off before we go on to the Ryder Cup.

Q.テつ With the 2015 schedule announced, can you address where things stand with creating a schedule for '16 working around the Olympics?
TIM FINCHEM:テつ Obviously the '16 schedule has been sitting out there since we were voted in the Olympics several years ago.テつ Has its own set of challenges, obviously.テつ But we're working through them and we'll be timely with the schedule for '16, I think next spring, and I think it's going to work out.
It just creates different player movement and it's one of those things that we won't have a total handle on until we actually get through '16 and look at it for '20 when we go to Tokyo for the Olympic games.
We've made a lot of progress.テつ Our tournaments are being cooperative and I think we'll get it put together in a timely fashion.

Q.テつ Along those lines, does this tournament have kind of a unique situation in that?テつ It's already in a unique spot.
Is there anyway this tournament moves at all for one year or down the road?
TIM FINCHEM:テつ Well, I wouldn't say never because I never say never when it comes to schedules.テつ There's always things you can't anticipate.
But right now our intention would be that the Wyndham would be the same position of leading in, being the play in to The Playoffs.テつ That's been our assumption for awhile.テつ Great time of year here, tournament works well here as well.テつ So, I think that's probably where we'll end up, in all likelihood.

Q.テつ The schedule was released this week.テつ Formulating that schedule, was there any concern, were there any concerns from players going from match play on the West Coast into another big event in The Players in Florida as far as traveling?
TIM FINCHEM:テつ None that I've heard.テつ The players seem really excited about the new format for match play.テつ We are, too.テつ It's kind of, we've been talking about this format as we got into the World Cup for soccer and for those of us who have been working on that we found ourselves following the soccer bracket a little bit more to see how that worked and felt totally different from the sports perspective.
No, I think the players are excited about the format.テつ You know, the other thing about it is, if you're a player and you like the format, we're not sure that the position of the match play -- or the position of the match play will be after '15 from a scheduling standpoint.
So, I don't -- it's probably -- if you did have a concern, you probably wouldn't even raise it because you're not sure it's an annual kind of situation.テつ But I haven't heard anything negative from players at this point.
Obviously, we're very excited about playing at Harding Park.テつ Harding Park has turned out because of the Presidents Cup play to be a fabulous match competition format and venue and the crowds there, the galleries are diverse and knowledgeable.テつ It's a wonderful place to play golf.テつ We're real excited about that.テつ Be good for match play.

Q.テつ What are your thoughts on Joe Ogilvie playing what he insists is his last PGA TOUR event and, secondly, your thoughts about the notion that some have that he would be an asset to the headquarters staff?
TIM FINCHEM:テつ Well, I would never comment publicly about who we might consider as part of the headquarters staff.
As far as Joe generally goes, Joe has been a contributor to the PGA TOUR in a lot of different ways.テつ It's not -- he had been talking to me a little bit over the past year of maybe moving on beyond competitive golf into some other stuff.テつ So I wasn't really surprised by the announcement of his decision.
You know how these things go.テつ I don't know how final it is.テつ We'll have to see.テつ You know, Joe is a very bright guy, served on our PAC a couple times, served on our Board once and we wish him well in whatever endeavor he ends up doing, and the extent to which we can collaborate on some stuff, depending on what he does, we'll look into that, but he's handled himself very, very well as a player over the years.
MARK STEVENS:テつ Any last questions?
TIM FINCHEM:テつ You guys all softballs today.

Q.テつ If you can comment on Bobby Long a little bit.テつ He kind of helped with moving Quail.テつ Talk about his impact on this tournament as well as overall.
TIM FINCHEM:テつ Well, Bobby is a fabulous individual.テつ I've said this many times but one of the great things about those of us who work in this sport is that all you do is work with great people:テつ Sponsors, tournaments, volunteers, players, fans, television partners. テつI mean you don't have a bad day from the standpoint of who you work with.
Bobby is as good of an example of that as there is, really.テつ He's very bright, he loves the game.テつ He understands the game.テつ He's got enormous energy.テつ He works well with people.
We're delighted that he's serving on the Board of The First Tee.テつ He brings a lot to that and The First Tee Program here is doing fabulous.テつ We're really pleased about that, probably a Top-5 or 10 program in the country.
So, we can't get enough of Bobby Long.テつ The more he wants to get involved, we'd love the see that.
But I think the work he did to reposition our tournament in that one year, to go to Eagle Point in Wilmington and to have the Wells Fargo leave Charlotte for one year is very helpful and it's a great tournament in that area of North Carolina.
I used to live in Jacksonville.テつ When I was 8, 9 years old I went to the old Azalea Open.テつ First tournament I ever went to.テつ Arnold Palmer was playing.テつ It really had an effect on me.テつ I'm excited to be able to look forward to a PGA tournament being back at Wilmington.

Q.テつ Can you offer any clarification on Dustin Johnson's status?
TIM FINCHEM:テつ Not beyond what he said.テつ We made a statement indicating we support his decision in this regard and look forward to having him back at the right time.
MARK STEVENS:テつ Thank you for your time, Commissioner.
TIM FINCHEM:テつ Thank you very much.

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