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September 20, 2016
THE MODERATOR: Good morning, everyone. Thank you so much for being here. Welcome to Eastlake Golf Club, site of the TOUR Championship and the culmination of the FedExCup. I'd like to thank the media for joining us this morning as well as give a nod to FedEx for letting us take over their hospitality suite. What better setting than a view of our new hole at 18. We'll be crowning a champion in just a couple of days.
As always, part of the TOUR Championship is we host a season-ending press conference with Commissioner Tim Finchem. This year is a little bit different because this may be his last time addressing the media as commissioner. Without further delay, I would like to turn it over to Commissioner Tim Finchem to make his opening remarks.
COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: Thank you, Laura. I gather you bought into these rumors out there. Shocking.
We thought we'd do something a little bit different. Normally, this time of the year, I tee off and regale you with a bunch of information about where I think we are. In recent years, I've noticed that here in these sessions a lot of you are busily tweeting and sending e-mails to friends. So I spent a couple of days last week going through what our folks have collected over the years in terms of some of the stuff you've disseminated out there, and I find it to be very funny stuff, in my own way.
So I thought I'd share with you some of them. I went through and I picked out a few that struck me as of particular interest. These are the things you come up with while I'm trying to communicate what's going on in the PGA TOUR.
Any idea when Finchem will be retiring? Hopefully sooner rather than later.
Tim Finchem is the new chairman of something called the World Golf Foundation. I know I'll sleep easier knowing that. See, now there's an individual who's not paying attention.
Wake me when Tim Finchem is finished speaking, #inductionceremony. [ Laughter.]
I watched the Golf Channel's telecast of Tim Finchem playing a round of golf with the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am the other day. It was really, really exciting. Doctors think they can have me fully revived and maybe even back on my feet by the middle of next week. [ Laughter.]
Frank Nobilo says golf is a big boy's game. Clearly he forgot Commissioner Tim Finchem, #communicative at best.
It's been a while since I had the privilege of reading one of PGA Commissioner Tim Finchem's torturous transcripts, and I'll miss him when he retires. Until then, here's a sample for people who are low on Ambien refills.
The PGA commissioner talks about the head of the board at a retirement home. I'm going to get into those activities soon. I hope it's not at a home.
He never looks more stiff than during his press conference appearances, at which he hides in plain sight behind lawyerly circumlocutions that are almost impossible to follow without a thesaurus and a compass. At this presser, he drew two laughs, which is two more than usual. [Laughter.]
I think this is a paraphrase on Gary Player: He's one of the finest golfers for his height.
The more I study this Tim Finchem transcript on the anchoring issue, the more I like Bud Selig. That really hurts actually. That one really hurts.
How about a new Waste Management Open tradition where we throw stuff at PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem on hole 16? Actually, I think they've been trying to get that organized for next year.
Will Tim Finchem ever retire, or will he take Queen Elizabeth's method of ruling until death? Well, I used to threaten to do that, but then I realized, if I tried it, someone would probably kill me anyway.
With that, I'm going to -- I'm not going to lay out for you today my own self, where we are. I thought I'd just respond to questions. I'll turn it back to Laura.
THE MODERATOR: That was very enjoyable. As the person who's moderated this for the better part of a decade, I enjoyed that intro very much, Tim. Thank you.
Given this is your final formal press conference, I thought we'd start with a couple questions we know are on everyone's mind, and then we'll open it up to the floor for questions.
As the typical state of the TOUR, as you look back, perhaps on your legacy itself, Tim, how would you summarize the state of the TOUR as it is right now?
COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: In terms of, when you use the word "legacy," I think you have to stick with Deane Beman. Deane Beman is a legacy. When Deane Beman became commissioner in '74, the net worth of the PGA TOUR was $150,000, and you consider where he took the TOUR.
When I think about my tenure, I think what I'm proudest of is the two things that have to happen for you to grow in this sport. One is the relationship our team has had with players, the working relationship they've had over the years. I think you just can't really move the needle unless players are understanding of where you're trying to go, they buy in, and they help.
I think the strength of the way our people have worked with the players has grown every single year.
And then the other piece is that, when you have that going and that relationship with the players, the other thing you have to do is really have a great team. That's the second piece of the puzzle. If you have those two things, things are going to go well, and the team we have -- which, when Deane Beman, again, was commissioner, the entire team could be housed in a townhouse in Sawgrass, Florida.
Last fall when we had all of our employees together and we're looking at 800 people, the scope and strength of our team is good or better than any in sports. So those two things are key. And then the stuff that's happened that's worked has been a product of that. The team are the creators and the executors of what we do. I do these press conferences and play quarterback some, but those are the two things.
I'm very proud that in the last 20 years -- and I know when Jay takes over, those two things will continue at pace, and the quality of the team that he's now putting together will be even stronger. 15 years from now, we'll look back and say, Wow, look what the PGA TOUR has done.
THE MODERATOR: You can't talk legacy or your career without certainly reflecting on the FedExCup itself. Maybe give a couple of comments as we're here in the tenth season of the FedExCup. Is it what you thought it would become at this point?
COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: I think that -- you know, go back to when we started the FedExCup. I don't think we would have imagined that it would have gotten this far along in this number of years because we've had experience with new properties, mid-'70s, the beginning of the PLAYERS Championship, mid-'90s, the beginning of the Presidents Cup, the World Golf Championships, et cetera. And it takes history, it takes you folks reporting on the history of what's happened.
I watched last night, a replay of the War of the Shore, and I couldn't believe I was listening to Mark Rolfing going back and forth with Johnny Miller in that Ryder Cup. Mark, you sounded, by the way, 20 years younger.
Q. I was.
COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: So stature is about history. I remember the first day of the first Presidents Cup, we'd been gearing up for months to get it started. We're on the 1st tee with Gerald Ford, who's the honorary chairman, former president, and Byron Nelson. And we had a fog delay. It seemed like forever until we had a ball in the air in that competition, and that was the first shot. And then from then on, it's just grown.
But the FedExCup has turned out to be a vehicle that really excites the players. The players get into it. That translates into what you communicate. That translates into the fans' interest. And the nature of the competition, the way it's structured, pretty much guarantees that at each level of the competition, the year-long level, the playoffs, the finals here, the competition gets stronger.
So we've had great sponsors, great golf courses. The key thing is the player support and developing the history. So it's come a lot quicker than we thought, and I think the changes this week -- we have our fingers crossed, but we've been talking about these changes for a long time, and I think it's going to bring another dimension and take this competition up another level.
THE MODERATOR: Finally, from this side, Tim, since we are here at the TOUR Championship, perhaps just reflect a bit on Eastlake and how this event itself has evolved.
COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: Of course, I think everybody knows the story when Tom Cousins reached out to us about possibly playing a competition here. Part of our team came up, looked around the property, called me and said, The golf course is pretty good but not sure we want to play here. We had a couple whiskey bottles thrown at us, a couple gunshots went off. Those were the early days before this whole area became transformed with the genius of Tom Cousins.
So we decided to try to play something special here just to really take advantage of the golf course, but communicate what has happened here. And, of course, the rest is history. Now, Eastlake Foundation has fueled what is purpose-built communities, which is in one way or the other now in 40 different cities getting going. It's a game changer.
One of the single most difficult things in our country is to change the intransigency of inner city poverty and lack of education. It's disheartening we're not hearing that subject discussed in the presidential election. That ought to be one of the top ten things these candidates are talking about. How do you deal with this problem? I think, if they were talking about it, this would be an example of the kind of thing that can be done. We're very proud of our partnership with Tom and the foundation. We look forward to many more years of being here.
Q. Finch, since you won't be the activities director at a retirement home, what will you be doing?
COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: I'll probably stay involved in The First Tee for a period of time because I think I can continue to help at scale, and I enjoy the people on that board. It's really a World Golf Foundation decision, but hopefully, I can stay involved in that.
I'll try to reverse the ratio of practicing golf and playing golf, which I get a fair amount of practice in. I don't get to play very much. I'll get a few more ski days in.
But mainly, I think it's the focus on my kids. My kids are all in their 20s. They didn't see much of me. They grew up with me being on the road all the time. So more time with them and Holly. So those things are natural.
Then I'm not going to go out and start a new career or anything. I don't need to do that. Golf is my passion. If Jay Monahan calls me and wants me to come in here and talk to the media because he can't handle it...[laughter] maybe try to help him out. More likely, he'll call me and say the CEO sponsor company X wants you to go play golf with him or something, he or she. So I'll be available and around.
At the THE PLAYERS, I'll be watching golf without the television in front of me for the first time in a long time. Really excited about that given what's happened to that property.
Q. Tim, have you had a chance yet to sort of reflect on your tenure? If so, what do you consider your greatest legacy?
COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: Well, I think I just mentioned, I think I'm proudest about the quality of our team and the interface with the players. I think, if you work in a professional sport, I can tell you from our experience that it really helps you recruit good people. People want to work in sports. It's exciting. It's got another level. And then we have this whole other level, which is helping people. We get people who are interested in changing the world and want to do it through golf.
So working with these people is just a fabulous experience. Watching their growth, the number of good people that have come to us has been really rewarding. If you have that kind of strength, then good things happen. So I'm really comfortable with watching the transition now going forward and what's going to happen. I think some of the changes that are already being made, even before I step aside, are really, really good changes. It's going to be...
The only negative about stepping aside is the fact that it's a really, really exciting time for the sport, I have to say. There's so much potential out there, more than ever. The globality of the sport that we just saw manifested at the -- in the Olympics is out there in front of us to take advantage of. The quality of the young players coming up today is so much different than 20 years ago in terms of, not just their capability of playing, but their unbelievable focus on reaching fans, communicating. They handle themselves so well. It just creates more value for the business model, and that's happening around the globe really.
So the next 25 years are going to be awesome. So in that sense -- but it's time for the organization to continue to morph. That's more important. And I want to do some other stuff. Thank you, though.
Q. Finchem, firstly, congratulations on your input as commissioner during this period.
COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: Thank you.
Q. Coinciding with your tenure as commissioner of the PGA TOUR, Tiger Woods dominated golf. I want you to talk about his importance in golf, and more particularly, what's been his importance and value to the PGA TOUR during your period as commissioner? Tiger's dominance coincided with your tenure as commissioner of the PGA TOUR. What's been his importance and value to the TOUR and to golf in general?
COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: Well, he's the only living player to win 79 times, and only one player has ever won more. He's the only active player to have won 14 Majors, and only one player has won more.
I have to put him down -- I love Jack Nicklaus beyond belief, but I have to put Tiger down as probably the greatest player to ever play, and the way he did it and his domination at a time when you're bringing more and more good players along, is incredible. It lifted all boats. I always refer to it as kind of like Michael Jordan in the NBA. He just lifted boats and brought in so many new fans to the game and charged it.
But the dominance does have a negative, and the one negative about it -- and I'll take another Tiger Woods tomorrow for 20 years to dominate, and hopefully he's still going to come back. But the one thing is he takes all the air out of the media. I mean, the entire focus is the dominant player. And it's understandable, but the negative about it is it's very difficult to create new stars in that environment whereas in today's world, the last two or three years, it's been easy.
Now, a lot of that is because of the quality of the players and the way they handle themselves so very well at the outset, on the course and off the course. But a lot of it too has to do with media exposure, which they can generate now.
I'll just take you quickly back. Most of you have heard me say this before. When Jack Nicklaus won his last tournament in '86, by the time I became commissioner in '94, the media was saying, What are you going to do? You don't have a Jack Nicklaus. You don't have a dominating player, somebody that's in there every week winning. I think they may have glossed over Greg Norman a little bit, who was No. 1 in the rankings for 300 weeks, fabulous player. But that was the question I got for a long time. During those years the PGA TOUR, and virtually every tournament, grew in every category every single year.
By '98, Tiger was dominant. So the questions were, How do you manage to grow the TOUR when your dominant player is playing 17 or 18 times and you have 46 events? How does that work? Well, between '96 and today, every one of those tournaments has grown in virtually every category almost every year.
The lesson there is that fans like golf. They like having -- they demonstrated that they like having a dominant player. Can he beat this record? Can he beat that record? They also like having a bunch of young guys competing at a fairly level way. It's like the big three, but it's the big five or the big six. So either way has demonstrated that we can grow, and I think that's a good lesson for the future.
Certainly, we've tried to take advantage of both situations, and we just keep moving.
Q. Tim, if/when you step down, what's the biggest challenge that Jay's going to face?
COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: Not being able to walk in my office and ask me how to do something. [Laughter.]
Oh, there's Jay. I didn't know he was here. I shouldn't have said that.
I think he's -- I honestly think the biggest challenge is taking advantage of the opportunities. I don't see any big -- now, if you rule out a 2008-type financial crisis, where you have seven or eight bankruptcies, if that -- that can happen. But setting that aside, I think generally, the real question is, how well can you take advantage of the opportunity that's out there still?
The media developments in the last 15 years play very well to our sport, and that's being demonstrated. The quality of the television that we saw first with HD and now we're going to see with 4K and all that, helps us more than any other sport. I guess you could argue hockey, but it really helps us because of the incredible pictures that we generate.
The globality of the sport, golf in the Olympics, the ability to really maneuver and do things, the financial capability that's out there, the enthusiasm of people in the television industry, broadcast industry, and digital industry about our sport, and how to maneuver through all that -- it's much more complex than it was in the first half of my tenure, much more complex, and it's more difficult.
The burden you have on getting the right people in the right places, listening to the right advice, and eventually making the right calls is significant. I think that's what he'll be faced with.
Now, I've worked with him closely now for a good period of time, and he's absolutely the right guy to deal with all that. He doesn't have a negative moment in his day. I mean, he is a total glass-is-half-full individual, and I think you'll see that as we go forward.
Q. What do you think of a Ryder Cup qualifying system that has essentially touched on every FedExCup playoff event from qualifying to auditions to three picks to tryout to another pick after the TOUR Championship in which there's a strong story line and somewhat of a competing message with the FedExCup? And have you heard back from any sponsors on that topic?
COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: No, no, I hadn't really thought about it that way because I think it's actually pretty positive for a couple reasons. One, I think when you -- what's happened there, the Ryder Cup, the way the Ryder Cup approaches this has really changed because of the FedExCup. So that says something about the FedExCup. It says that players are gearing their game to be at the top of their game during this period of time. It says that the competition is such that you can look at it if you're a captain and learn a lot about whether you want this player or that player on the team, based on how they're playing under that pressure, which we're going to see this weekend and we saw in the playoffs leading in.
I think it's a compliment. It's funny you would say that. When I turned on -- I just went to the Golf Channel last night, and here's the Ryder Cup from '91, and I was at that Ryder Cup and watching Hale Irwin hit that golf club he had in his hands. I don't know if anybody watched -- what was that? That Persimmon, looked like a 3 wood, but it was a tiny head. It's crazy. I don't know how he hits that thing. But my first reaction was: How come the Golf Channel is not showing last year's finals of the FedEx?
Well, for a fan, this is a great month of golf. When you've got the playoffs followed by the Ryder Cup, it's nirvana. I don't think there's anything bad about it, it's just a compliment to the FedExCup that the process is being used that way, to me.
Q. You touched on the Olympics earlier. Do you believe golf did enough at Rio to remain an Olympic sport and be on the current program?
COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: Did it get enough viewers?
Q. Did the sport do enough to remain part of the Olympics?
COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: I think a part of the question mark was having some players that didn't want to go play, but I think that, based on the reaction of some of those players after, having not gone, and learning about the difference between negative commentary ahead of an Olympics and reality, which you kind of see every Olympics, nothing's going to be ready. Everything's going to fall down. The venues can't work, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. It's a lesson for us in golf.
I had an interesting conversation with Thomas Bach, the president of the IOC over there, came to our venue on Sunday, the men's competition. He spent an hour and a half to two hours tooling around the property. He was blown away. I think we were the only sport that was sold out -- a sold out venue that particular day. He was blown away by the galleries.
Without me having to explain the situation to him, he explained to me why at the outset of our entry to the Olympics we had some hesitation. He said, We've seen it in a few other sports. But now they understand the power of being an Olympian, of being able to compete on this stage, of being able to interface with these wonderful athletes from all over the globe. Just ask the players who did go. It was a game changer in their minds.
And then he went on to tell me other things I don't know, like Japan is a very strong golf country and that we can expect mammoth galleries in Japan. We played the World Cup there in 2001, and if you just look at the footage, thousands and thousands and thousands of people came out. So it's going to be a big event in Japan, and I think golf is there for the long term.
I think I'm more interested in how we're using that in the affected countries. You have about 85 countries where the governments invest money in the sports but only in sports that are on the Olympic program. So those are 85 countries that haven't had government funding before, and now they're getting it. How are we leveraging that to help grow the game globally? I think we're going to be fine in the fabric of golf.
Now, we may want to do some tweaking in the format. It would be nice to have some more medals, in my view, but that will be something that Jay and the team will work on going forward.
Q. Tim, we've seen the NCAA, ACC, NBA pull out of North Carolina due to the legislation there. Where's the PGA TOUR stand with the couple of events that they have there?
COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: We are squarely with those other organizations that have taken a public stance about that legislation. We are not, however, inclined to join that group by pulling our tournament. And the reason for that is quite simply, that tournament raises about $1.5 million right now for the Teach for America program in the inner city of Charlotte. Nobody else is going to put that money up.
I want to reemphasize that we have three pieces to our mission: 0one is to benefit the professional game and the people that play it; two is building the communities where we play; and three is helping grow the game of golf.
We'll be vocal about the legislation, but we're not going to interrupt a unique program that's doing the great work it's doing in the city of Charlotte.
Q. Tim, you mentioned before that all of the events now have grown, and you've built something out here that looks like a Hilton Garden Inn over here, looking out over one of the fairways.
COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: It's more expensive.
Q. I'm just curious. For the past decade, the country's had an effective 3 percent growth in the economy. Why is professional golf still a good investment from a business standpoint?
COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: Well, that's kind of a long answer, but the quick version is that, if you look at the value streams to an investor, as you put it -- it could be a sponsor. It could be somebody that buys a pro-am spot. It could be somebody that buys a ticket over here to the marquee or does a hospitality tent. They're all investing in what the sport is doing.
The payback is in different streams. One stream -- let's just start talking about title sponsors because they spend the most money. One stream is the value of the advertising and the -- not just advertising, but branding. In recent years, that's been complemented by an increasing focus on business-to-business activity at venues. There's no sport that matches this one in terms of what you can do with a customer base on site. Just given the time frames we have, the ability to use the property effectively.
And then in recent years, certainly the last ten years, a huge focus on the value of a company to be involved with what we were just talking about in Charlotte, which is to change things in Charlotte to help people in the community.
15 years ago, if we were sitting with a company -- I like to tell this story because it's true -- we'd have to sort of explain to a company what our charitable model is all about. Now that's changed. They already know, and they want to learn how to leverage it and how to use it and how to maximize it.
So you add all that up, it's just a lot of value. And the other interesting thing, I think, too is that companies are getting smarter about using the sponsorship and that those smarts are being repopulated around the business community through sports marketing companies and others that represent them take advantage of our platform. So you're seeing a lot of that too. There's a lot of pieces to it, but it's certainly moving in the right direction.
Q. Tim, going forward, do you see the four tournaments comprising the FedEx playoff going forward and finishing in mid-September like this?
COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: Well, we -- I would just say this, on the one hand, we're fairly conservative, which we joked about at the top of this. If something's really working well, we really kick the tires pretty hard for a while before we mess around with it, and it's working pretty well. But on the other hand, we're also always asking, how can we do this better? What's the best date for this tournament? What's the best flow? Et cetera, et cetera. It applies to everything, World Golf Championship, everything.
So there are different models that we look at, and I don't know. I think we're focused increasingly on our television rights discussions laid out over the next few years. We'll probably get further into that before we'll start tinkering much with the schedule. But I wouldn't rule out changes, but at this point in time, I wouldn't assume changes either.
Q. Just a quick one before my other question, are they not tied together, future scheduling and TV talks? Are they not tied together?
COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: Yes, and they could be affected by the discussion. So we wouldn't -- we normally don't go into television discussions with a lockdown schedule. We give ourselves some flexibility.
Even though we try to stay on top of what television broadcast can do programming-wise, it also changes a lot. So it's kind of a fluid kind of conversation.
Q. Secondly, since everybody has regrets, what are yours in your 20-plus years?
COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: Nothing real big. I've been fortunate because the team I was bragging about earlier has kept me out of trouble. Tim, you really don't want to do that. I've heard that on a number of occasions.
But I think the one regret would be we didn't -- or at least thus far I haven't been able to make working with our folks, a little bit more progress on the global effort. We've done a lot of great things globally, and doing a lot of things in a hurry probably is not going to make sense globally anyway, but I would have liked to see a little bit more acceleration there. I don't beat myself up on it because candidly there were other factors at work that impacted that situation globally.
So I still maintain that over time golf will come together. It just needs to -- it's so obvious, the benefits it would generate from players and fans and media partners and sponsors. I think it will happen, but it's one of those opportunities I spoke of earlier. We'll see if the new team can kick it down the alley a little quicker.
Q. I was curious, I don't know if this was your stated mission, but I thought I heard it anyway once, that you want to make sure these guys got paid like other entertainment sports, and I think most people would agree that they have over the last 20 years. Is there any concern going forward that these guys will ever take for granted what they're playing for, whether it's $35 million in bonus money this month or the prize money or any of that? Keeping them humble.
COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: Yeah, that's a good question. Well, I think what I've said over the years is that we've been making strides in compensation to players, whether it's prize money or retirement plan or whatever. On the other hand, we lag behind the team sports. So sometimes -- and I think I've done it sometimes. When we receive criticism for focusing on generating more wherewithal, we have to point out that we're also focused on the other two parts of our mission, but we want to continue to make strides.
As far as the players go, you know, I think the combination of, one, that 90-some percent of the players that make it to the TOUR have gone all the way through college, a fairly high percentage got into this sport at a very young age through family and at an early age learned about some of the core values, something that through The First Tee program we've tried to take to people who don't have the advantage of a family that can provide all that.
And the other thing is, as a player gets active on the PGA TOUR, he sees the charitable model, and we're impressed that in recent years, players at a very young age, first-year players, have asked lots of questions about how they get involved in charitable giving, and I don't think that's a mentality that would be in sync with losing your focus because you got a lot of money in the bank.
So I have a very high confidence level that the standards that -- about what a professional athlete is that really were brought forward, in my view, by Arnold Palmer and players since him will continue.
Q. What went through your mind ten years ago about the PGA TOUR? What was the reason that you created the FedExCup and the playoffs?
COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: Well, the number one reason was to give some definition to what a PGA TOUR season is. If you recall, before the Cup, we are ending way into the football season. We had different things end at different times. There wasn't any definition to it. What did a season mean? Well, if a season doesn't mean that much to the fan, to the media, then it's more difficult to market.
The FedExCup starts off with everything matters. Everything matters. It's tied together, and there's a definitive end. So you can look back and say this is what -- just like every other sport. This is what this season meant in terms of -- so the fan can judge. And the fans today just eat up data -- can judge that and argue about it. It becomes controversial, and all that stuff is good. So that was the leading reason.
I think the second reason was do some things to create more interest in different parts of the season, do some things to increase value to sponsors. Do some things that television people like to see happen, all those things. But I think the fundamental was to build what the season's all about.
Q. And what is the key thing then for the PGA TOUR to get even more attention around the world? For example, in Sweden?
COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: Well, we get a lot of attention around the world because everything we do this week will be on the air in 230 countries all around the globe. The last ten years, our television distribution outside the United States has grown exponentially. That, combined with our presence in China and Malaysia, very close working relationships in Japan, World Cup in Australia this year, Presidents Cup moving around the globe, all those things, World Golf Championship.
We just spent a couple of days in Mexico City two weeks ago. I think that's going to be a phenomenal event for a number of years down there and an event that's going to fund a First Tee type program in Mexico City for the first time, PGA TOUR Latino America.
So there's an awful lot of activity globally. We're not really looking at it from a standpoint of does the PGA TOUR get noticed? We're looking at it from the standpoint of, can we assist in creating a stronger amount of elite player development outside in these other areas of the world so that eventually there's more of a balance, and if there's a balance among the heroes, where the heroes are from, then there will be more of a balance in terms of the game growing, and that's kind of our focus.
Along the way, it helps our brand, I suppose you could argue that, but it's not the driving factor.
THE MODERATOR: Commissioner, we started with some jokes, but I know you wanted to end with some thanks to our friends in the media that have spent a lot of time covering you over the last two decades.
COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: And you're saying this because thanking the media is something I might conveniently forget? [Laughter.]
THE MODERATOR: You said your team helps make you look good, so I'm just ending on a high note.
COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: Well, actually, we did have some fun earlier, but I think you folks have done a phenomenal job over the years in terms of the way you covered our sport. I like to think our people have given you what you need whenever you need it.
It's so important for what happens out here to be communicated effectively, but you've done a tremendous job doing that. Whether you -- and I also would like to say, if we do something that you think is not the right thing to do, sort of half-assed, haven't thought it out, and you write about it -- I notice sometimes in my conversations with you you're a little bit hesitant, thinking if you ask me such and such a question or you make this comment, that somehow me or one of my people are going to be annoyed with you. We don't view it that way.
I thought that -- we've talked about it in recent days. I think, when Fox put those tweets up of our players being critical of the USGA, if we were the USGA in that instance -- and I think they were -- they just said, that's good. That's what the fans like to see. You write what you think the fans are interested in, and you do a great job with it, and we appreciate what you've done to support what we've been able to accomplish for many, many years.
So thank you.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you for your time, Commissioner. As a final thank you, please join us for some refreshments. You'll be pleased to know we picked the menu based on what Tim likes to eat. I'll be interested in your reaction. Appreciate it. Thank you, Tim, for your time.
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