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March 14, 2010

Tim Finchem


Q. We welcome the Commissioner of the PGA TOUR, Tim Finchem. It's been an interesting year to say the least, a number of topics of course in the media. Let's start with the recent decision this week by the PGA TOUR. I know it was a relief that happened earlier this week when John Solheim agreed to waive the loophole and end this groove issue.
COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: We were very happy to get some of the distractions out of the way. But John Solheim did a good thing. He had the opportunity to waive language in his agreements about the USGA and the PGA TOUR to go back 20 years and recreate a level playing field, and he looked at it.
It's difficult for him, because his family has been involved in these issues for a long time, and he didn't hesitate, he took a look at it. In a couple of weeks it will all be done and behind us and we are very pleased about that.

Q. Let's talk about the CA Championship. What is the future of CA's involvement here at Doral and looking down the road?
COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: We'll be here at Doral next year and the World Golf Championships will continue. CA is repositioning some of its marketing and making a decision now. They should have a statement here in the next week or so, either way, we are going to continue our relationship. They have been a huge supporter of what's happened here charity-wise: $4 million raised for Boys' Clubs, Girls' Clubs, First Tee, and their involvement with the PGA TOUR will continue.
If they determine to step away as title sponsor of this particular tournament, the World Golf Championships, we will not have any difficulty bringing in a new sponsor. There is an awful lot of interest and this is obviously a great field, huge global exposure, a great venue, and we'll move forward.

Q. Continuing our conversation, you mentioned it's been an interesting year, a lot of topics dominating the PGA TOUR. Let's talk about one that's continued to swirl around here, even though he is not here, because Tiger woods, all sports of speculation when he's going to play, where it's going to be. Can you enlighten us on when exactly Mr. Woods will be back in action?
COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: Well, you know, this is no surprise to you; I get this question about 300 times a day. And I think that's good, because since his statement, that's what everybody is talking about.
Everybody's done looking back at the circumstances that resulted in him stepping away from the game, and now focused on when he's going to play golf. I think that's good. I think that means people are paying attention to what he said, and so that's good.
You know, he's made it clear that he's going -- everybody understands that -- we saw in Ponte Vedra the extent of the media show -- when he first steps back, he recognizes and his people recognize that and so all of the speculation about what's going to happen at the end of March, I think if he's going to play at the end of March, we will hear pretty soon, or early April. Because he recognizes we have time, we need time to do it. Although we feel like we are prepared in any particular week that he comes back. But it's going to be huge when he comes back. And then we'll see how -- it's going to be an interesting thing to watch, how he re-enters the game, how he plays, how he deals with the reaction to his statement.
But I do feel this huge change in the atmosphere, because of what he said, and I was impressed not only about him talking about personal issues, but about talking about the game, which you guys have talked about. And when he comes back, a renewed respect. I thought he set the bar for himself, and we all know what happens when Tiger sets the bar for himself. I'm as excited as everybody else to see him back this spring, but my sense is, we'll know pretty soon.

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