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March 23, 2005

Tim Finchem


BOB COMBS: Ladies and gentlemen, I think we'll get going. We very much appreciate you being here this week to cover THE PLAYERS Championship, your investment of time and energy to tell the stories of this championship, and we look forward to a great week. As the final pre-tournament interview, we have with us Commissioner of the PGA TOUR Tim Finchem. Tim is going to talk about this championship this week, touch on a few subjects and at the end we'll touch on your questions.

COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: Good afternoon. Thanks for being here this week at THE PLAYERS Championship. We're pretty excited about this year for lots of different reasons I'll get to in a minute, but let me just extend a warm welcome, and if you don't have everything you need, please call Gary Smits, your local host, and I'm sure he'll accommodate you.

Each year we like to talk about THE PLAYERS Championship as having the deepest and strongest field in the game, and we ran the numbers this morning, and this is, strength-of-field-wise, our strongest field in history. It seems like a lot of years, actually a lot of weeks, most weeks, something happens to this player or that player, there's something going on physically, there's a baby coming or something, but virtually everybody is here this year.

As a consequence, we have even a better field than we normally have, which is pretty stout. Obviously all top 50 players in the world are here and ready to play.

The golf course has, we think, gotten better every year. The philosophy that Pete Dye had and what we've tried to maintain in our setup, philosophy and procedures and execution is to try to test every phase of the game, force players to use every club in the bag. This is a golf course that doesn't favor particularly one style of play over another. We've had players win who were generally considered very long players, we've had players win who were considered not long players, we've had players win that were very accurate players, but by and large, I think year in and year out, we've put a challenge to and pressure on every aspect of the game, starting with accuracy off the tee right on into working around these greens.

Over the past 32 years, we think that THE PLAYERS Championship has evolved into something very special in golf and continues to grow, and we want to make sure that continues. This year we're very pleased that we have a couple of new sponsors -- well, one new sponsor in UBS which joins PriceWaterhouseCoopers as our proud supporters. We announced last year to the players that the purse this year will be $8 million. We've credentialed 650 media in addition to the some 500 people that are on-site related to all aspects of television.

ESPN and NBC will make use of the cable cam for the first time at 17 as an experiment this year, which will give us another dimension in covering what's happening with the shots from the 17th tee.

We're continuing to be pleased with the use of ShotLink week in and week out in the television broadcast, and we anticipate given the number of hours that we have for the telecast this weekend that we'll see even more use of ShotLink-related applications that we hope can increase the appreciation of the fan about various aspects of the game and ways to compare each of the players' capabilities and competitiveness during the course of the week.

In terms of the golf course right now, obviously we never like to see it rain, but it always does, especially this year. Rain has followed us around constantly all year long, but we seem to be in reasonably good shape. We took a pretty hard pounding yesterday, but right now the situation is pretty much as follows: We had eight-tenths of an inch of rain last night, we didn't have any damage, but due to the rain, our fairways will not be mowed today. We anticipate the greens will be running somewhere between 11 and 12 during the competition in green speed. We topped the rough off on Sunday at four inches on the golf course and three and a half inches around the greens. The rough will not be cut again.

We put in in the last two years -- we've done a lot of drainage work, and the golf course is draining fairly well, but I think players should expect relatively soft conditions, certainly the first part of the tournament. We have rebuilt all our bunkers on the golf course in the last year with new drainage, and we have new sand, but it's the same consistency throughout the golf course, and we anticipate that our bunkers will continue to perform well since they were installed in terms of drainage to help us get back ready quickly if we should have a rain interruption.

The golf course is playing at the same yardage and fairway width as in recent years. This is a golf course that's held up quite well over the years. We anticipate that it will again this year.

Lastly, on THE PLAYERS Championship, I'll just say that I think it's particularly unique about this year's tournament to have so many of the top players playing so well coming into THE PLAYERS Championship. There was a lot of discussion as we finished last season about what's been referred to as the Big Four. There seemed to be a surge in fan interest about the Big Four as we came into the start of the year. Many people harken back to 34 years ago, the Big Three, but the interesting thing is coming right out of the box now, coming into this tournament, it's the first time that all four of them will be on the same golf course. They all play well; they're all at the top of their game, they've all won one or two tournaments, and they're joined by a lot of other players that are playing well, of course, but Vijay, Tiger, Ernie and Phil have the opportunity this week to create some stories in terms of that matchup that could be pretty special.

Of course the field goes a lot deeper than that, and as we found in prior years, while we have tried to test every aspect of the game, this is a golf course that if you play really, really well, you can score on, and we like that possibility. We think that creates more excitement, and it'll be interesting to see how that works out.

The other thing I would just mention is that we have 78 non-American players as members of the PGA TOUR today representing 22 countries, and that means virtually all of the top players in the world are all members and they're all here, and so the international flavor of this championship is even more so than it has been in the past.

The bottom line is we're pleased about where we are, we're pleased about where we are with the championship, we're focused on this year's championship. I'll mention a few other things here, but basically I won't talk about a lot outside of the championship today, but I will answer your questions.

The future of the championship is one that we'll be talking to you about later in the year in terms of what we're doing here with the infrastructure for the players, the positioning of the players on the schedule, the positioning of the players from the standpoint of fan enhancements, the positioning of the stadium features that we utilize around the golf course, a lot of changes will be made in all of those areas or could be made in all of those areas in the next two years, and between now and next year's PLAYERS we'll be talking to you about that.

I'll make just four brief comments generally about the state of the Tour, not going into a lot of detail or any significant report today, and then I'll take your questions. One is generally speaking, this year, thus far, our viewership is very strong, our ratings are constant, and we're pleased about that.

Secondly, our sponsorship is at 100 percent and growing, and interestingly, our sponsors are expanding their involvement with us and certainly expanding their focus and involvement in Giving Back programs, which we think is very important.

Our tournaments are performing better and better. In 2004, year over year, we had a 10 percent increase in attendance, and we view that as a very important barometer as to the popularity of what's happening, and we're pleased about that.

And then finally, the Drive to a Billion focus that we just spend a few minutes on the first tee with Dean Beeman hitting our ceremonial shot this week, is moving along very well and seems to be focusing people on the fact that the PGA TOUR is organized for charitable purposes, that any contribution of time or money you make to our events is going to translate into contributions to the communities where we play, and we like use that milestone to focus attention on the fact that it's taken us -- it will take us 67 years to raise the first billion dollars for charity, and if we could just harness a little more energy, we should be able to do the second billion dollars in eight or nine years.

Lastly, I'll just say that we're excited about presenting Pete Dye the Lifetime Achievement Award on the PGA TOUR, which we're going to do at 4:00 o'clock on the other side of the clubhouse. With that, I'll stop and ask whether you have any questions that you would like to pose.

Q. Are you looking harder at moving THE PLAYERS Championship to May for this TV negotiations more so than you were the last two?

COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: I don't think particularly harder. We spent a lot of energy on it four years ago, evaluating the pluses and minuses, and we're in that same process now. I think we look at all of these questions in the schedule with equal intensity, whether the decision is the same or not, but we're looking very hard at possibly moving it to May. We may or we may not. There's a lot of factors involved with that decision.

Q. Since you brought up the title sponsor here, I wanted to ask you a sponsor question. What do you say to the CEO of one of your title sponsors that would like to further leverage their relationship with the Tour by having an early week Pro-Am?

COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: If you're referring to the -- I assume you're referring to the discussion or coverage of the Pro-Am that was held at Doral, and I think your question is what do I say to them if they ask?

Q. What do you say to a CEO of one of your title sponsors who would like to have an early week Pro-Am to further leverage their relationship with the Tour and its players?

COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: Right now what we say to them is you can have a Pro-Am, and they do have a Pro-Am. They have a Pro-Am on Wednesday. A lot of weeks they have a Pro-Am on Monday.

The question is not so much one of whether there's going to be Pro-Ams, the question is should there be additional Pro-Ams that are outside the construct of what we do with the tournament, and what we do with the tournament is all the players are paid the same thing, and there's not a lot of money involved.

As we talked about with the players last night, we said publicly, we have regulations that relate to appearance money, and those are fine, but in addition to that, we probably need some guidelines that relate to situations that create the perception of appearance money, and that relates to some of what you're talking about, which is Pro-Ams, and it also relates to other things that happen from time to time that create the perception of appearance money, and we will probably be recommending to our board some additional guidelines in the next couple of months on that subject.

In the particular case of Doral, it's clearly a case of perception because every player that played in that particular outing until this knew prior to the TOUR Championship that they were going to play in that event. We did not consider it an appearance money situation. But there is a point where the perception is almost as negative as whether there's a technical violation, and it's important that we not have the perception of appearance money in our sport. Some additional guidelines will be forthcoming, but they'll also be guidelines that don't have a chilling effect on the ability of companies to do Pro-Ams generally or a chilling effect to the players to take advantage of the marketplace. It's just going to be making sure that what happens in the tournament week does not conjure up that kind of perception.

Q. Having said that, does that mean that under the new guidelines that if Ford had come to you with the exact same proposal they came to you with last year that it would be in violation of the new guidelines?

COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: If that's the way the guidelines work out. I don't know exactly how the guidelines are going to work out. I'm speculating that we will have guidelines and my guess is that they will have an impact on the activities that happen during the week.

As to exactly what that impact is going to be, you'll just have to wait and see what the guidelines are.

Q. What was the PGA TTA's input into this and since meeting out here last Saturday and who formulates these guidelines and could you venture a guess roughly what sort of the parameters and template might be for that? Sort of three questions.

COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: Well, we had already communicated to the PGA TTA prior to coming that we were going to request additional guidelines. It's my job to recommend guidelines to the board, which I'm in the process of doing. It's the job of the board to approve the guidelines, and no, I wouldn't want to conjure up detail on what the guidelines would be. They will be guidelines that will give us an assurance, players that are concerned, tournaments that are concerned, sponsors that are concerned, and to some extent fans, that we're not gravitating toward appearance money in our sport, and I think when you see them, that will come through.

Q. The last go-around with the issue whether the players will go to May, Craig said it would take it a little longer to set up the course than he wanted at that time of year, and agronomy progresses almost as fast as equipment. Does the Marriott have to sign off on any date switch?

COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: The Marriott is a partner, so we want to work with all partners, television partners, sponsor partners, club issues, we have people that play here who are members. We have lots of partners, and everybody has to be comfortable with the decision.

If we were to move ahead with the decision, it would be because we had concluded that by doing so, we could continue to enhance the stature and the impact of THE PLAYERS, and we believe that if we conclude that that our partners will support that because everybody has an interest in the championship, obviously benefits if the championship continues to grow.

There are details as part of that, whether it be agronomy or working with specific relationships like the hotel. We'll address those in turn if we get to that point, but we'll address them with those partners. We wouldn't talk about it publicly.

Q. The last few weeks several top players, specifically Tiger and Phil, have mentioned the idea of a shortened schedule. Their theory was that it might bring the top players together like this more often, that they'd be less spread out. I'm just wondering, your thoughts on a shortened schedule, with 100 percent sponsorship as you mentioned, is that something that could even be done or that you'd want to do?

COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: Well, if you said shortened schedule to ten different players or ten different sponsors it would probably mean ten different things. We're not so much focused on the length of the schedule as we are how the schedule works from the standpoint of presenting the season and the competition within the season. That goes to how the season ends. It goes to how the season starts. It goes to how some of the significant tournaments during the course of the schedule are juxtaposed with each other. Those are the important things.

The length of the schedule, the official money schedule, is also impacted, however, by what we want to do primarily in the fall, domestically and internationally, how the World Golf Championships become positioned in the out years, as well as what portion of the challenge season we should continue or not continue. These are all important factors. There are a lot of them, and so speculating about what might be a good change from the schedule doesn't make a lot of sense at this point.

We have too many things unclear at this point in our analysis, and we're six or eight months away from completing it. I will say to you the same thing I said to the players last night, which is when we look at the schedule and we look at the structure of the sport, the key things about it are, first, how does it work for the fans, the sponsors and our television partners. That's number one.

Number two is how does it work from the standpoint of playing opportunities for our players, something that's very important.

Number three, how does it work from the standpoint of growing the financial benefits that we can generate to the players.

Four, how does it work from the standpoint of maintaining our historical position in Giving Back programs. All those of those factors need to be carefully evaluated any time we make a decision as it relates to our core product, and whatever combination of things we come forward with, it might move us away from where we have historically been the last number of years, will be done based on a careful consideration of all those four factors involved, and an eye toward improving our position with all four of them. And that's what we're about now.

But speculating about it or listening to a rumor or detail about this week or that week, we'll be happy to share our schedule with you when we get it done. I appreciate the fact that players are thinking about it and we're getting a lot of good input from players and sponsors as we talk to them from tournaments, and that will assist us as we go forward.

Q. Two quick questions, please: Does the PGA TOUR have any interest in having an official money tournament in China in the next five years, or are you happy to leave that market to the Asian and European Tours?

COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: Well, I could bore you with definitions, but I don't think China or any particular country is a particular focus of ours at this point. I think our focus is just along the lines I just said, recognizing that we think it's important that we play some international golf or play some tournaments overseas in some fashion. But official money, money is water in terms of what that is.

Frankly, I think that going forward, jointly-sanctioned events will carry the same import to some extent, multi-sanctioned by multiple tours and the Federation as perhaps official money has historically, that remains to be seen, but at this point, we have our basic core product to get organized, hopefully leaving some room for some international play, and then we'll get into an evaluation of where that should be. China in and of itself, I can't answer that question.

Q. You mentioned 78 international players on this Tour. There's a perception around the world that the other tours are really suffering because all the top players are here, and Greg Norman recently said you personally have a responsibility to protect the game on a global basis. A, do you think you do have that responsibility, or is your job just to look after the PGA TOUR, and B, if so, what do you plan to do?

COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: Well, I think we all have a responsibility here to the game domestically and globally, and I think as part of that, there is some responsibility to the other Tours. I don't agree with the premise that players playing here take away from interest to the game elsewhere. I think I can argue that Sergio Garcia may get better television exposure in Spain playing here than he does in Europe because our television distribution is so strong.

But that aside, that's not really the way we look at it. The way we look at it is we had a Federation of Tours, we work together, we look at strategies relating to how those Tours can continue to improve themselves. They have to improve themselves and we will work with them to do so to be able to attract a player.

A player from some of those other tours who is a member of this Tour has full capability to play some tournaments on some of those tours. They don't, and the reason is that playing there is not particularly attractive. We've had a long history in this country of attracting to the United States the better players from those Tour areas when they get to a certain level, going all the way back to Gary Player and Bruce cram ton and on and on and on. Nothing has changed really. There was a period of time in the early '80s when maybe that fell away a little bit and then it picked back up. That's the real world. This is the strongest Tour and this is where players want to play.

I do think the Federation this year will be looking at ways that it can (inaudible) better. There was a form in 1996 it became a Federation, and now we're on the verge of it becoming even closer in terms of being able to do things, coordinated more around the world.

Q. A couple weeks ago Tony Wallin said you guys were going to talk about the lift, clean and place rule because there were some people really unclear about it. Do you know were any changes made to that?

COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: It didn't come up last night. Who said that?

Q. Tony Wallin.

COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: Did not come up in my meeting. He may have been referring to the competition meeting, which was, I think, this morning, but it did not come up in the player meeting.

Q. You've reached an anniversary obviously on this TPC course here, and you have several courses that have been built nationwide, I guess one in San Antonio that's about to go up. Can you talk about the impact of Dean Beeman's vision and how these courses have impacted the game of golf the last five years?

COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: Yeah, I think a lot of courses have over the years now picked up on stadium features so courses are now built with mounding that allows people to actually see the game. You don't see periscopes at Tournament Players Clubs, but also part of that notion was that you provide a tournament that's raising money for charity, a free place to play. A total bottom line contribution on that score from Tournament Players Clubs back to other clubs is like $60 million that would have been paid in rent to clubs across town because the Tournament Players Club provides a free place for the tournament to play.

So that has significantly helped drive charitable contributions. When a tournament gets to a point in the community where it's making a big impact with charity, all of a sudden the community gets involved and that makes the tournament bigger and so it goes.

It was part of stadium golf that was the concept, but it's also very much the integration of the club with the tournament, and in most places that's been a very successful relationship, so I think it has helped.

Now, however, clubs are 25 years old, and we are now on a mission to revisit what we really want clubs to be for the next 25 years and how they can better serve, if you will, the competitive needs of the PGA TOUR, which are different today than they were 20 years ago. You know, the major leagues are investing $400 or $500 million in new stadia around the country, whether it be baseball or basketball or football, and they're doing it for the purpose of being able to create an overall fan experience to be able to compete in today's world for some of that time, and we have to address at our tournaments the same kind of competitive needs, and that requires some infrastructure renewal that you'll be seeing us get into over the next five years.

Q. Does that impact your newer courses that you're building?

COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: Well, yes, but it also -- you'll see some of that in San Antonio if we finish up and get going down there, but you'll also see us reinvesting in older clubs starting right here in a couple of years to make that transition to be able to compete in a different kind of environment than we had 15 years ago.

Q. Getting back to the appearance fee issue, and you talk about coming up with some guidelines on that, European Tour, I believe, has guidelines, and they would seem to skirt the issue by calling these promotional fees. Is that a viable concept for the PGA TOUR?

COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: I haven't analyzed the European language or what happens in Europe, so I can't answer that question. The only thing I can tell you is what I said before, that our guidelines will, in our view, preclude in most cases the chance that there will be a perception of appearance money in addition to the appearance money in reality, which frankly I think we've done a pretty good job with over the years.

We can't be too careful in this area.

Q. What is it about appearance money or the perception of appearance money that you feel will do to this Tour? People talk about other non-team sports like tennis and what it did to tennis appearance money. What do you think in particular appearance money would do to this Tour?

COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: Well, from the standpoint of professional athletic competition, it raises the specter in the fans' mind that the player is only there because he was paid to be there and not there to really compete. If the player doesn't play well, in light of that perception, then there is a secondary perception that he didn't even come to compete, he just showed up to get his appearance money. That is not a good thing for your image.

Then thirdly, from the standpoint of our sponsors and our tournaments, we think we have a healthy competition in terms of the kinds of things we want them to do to compete for these independent contractors to play in their tournaments, and we don't want appearance money to be part of that. This is something that's been part of the PGA TOUR since its inception in 1968. We think our image is the most important thing we have, and we're not going to take the risk that for appearance money's sake that maybe that's okay from an image standpoint, but it's frankly pretty simple.

Q. The second part to that, is there a chance that the quote-unquote non-big time tournaments, the tournaments that don't have the prize money that some of the other tournaments have and not quite the sponsorship, they might not be able to step up to the plate, that those tournaments might go away? Is that a possibility?

COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: I don't know. That would depend upon a whole range -- that's a hypothetical question that I have no way of answering. We're not going to get to that point so it's not really relevant.

Q. Is there a lot of consideration about moving the TOUR Championship on or around Labor Day?

COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: There's a consideration that we might want to play the TOUR Championship earlier, but I think I said this at Accenture, I have about seven different models, if you will, that involve how we handle the end of the season and different aspects of season. I have permutation after permutation. All of them require lots of analysis. So to suggest that one particular direction is something that we're really focused on would mislead you, the readers, to think that we're trying to do that.

One of the many things we're looking at is a way to end the season in a more compelling way. One of those ways includes at least the finish of an annual season or that year's season to be somewhat earlier, yes.

Q. There was some comments made by Nissan, the sponsor, comments to the effect that the PGA TOUR is one of the only places you know where you can work two days a week and get paid for a week's work. Is there any thought to giving sponsors a break in the event the tournament does not complete three or four rounds?

COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: Did they really say that?

Q. It was printed.

COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: Oh, it was printed. This question has been asked of me, to be serious, in the PGA TTA meeting yesterday, this happens so infrequently, we don't think it's a big deal. We think the way that the regulations are written -- our contract language in that regard that's written is very fair, and our contracts are typically not written for a year, they're written for a multiple number of years. So if there is a down side or a hardship, it should be viewed over a multiple number of years, and on that basis we're not concerned about it and we don't see changing it at this point.

By the way, I'll just say that that comment sort of suggests that if the player is called off the golf course, it isn't like he's laying on a beach. I mean, he's got to be ready to go whenever our officials say, okay, it's dry enough to play. It's kind of an unfair statement to say you only play two days. I think that's kind of a simplification.

Q. Do you have a sense that you and IMG are on the same page or even close to the same page on the Monday Pro-Am concept?

COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: I believe I'm correct to say that IMG has withdrawn the proposal that was printed. You'd have to ask them about that specifically, but we've had a good working relationship with IMG on most matters. And again, I don't think that in the scope of what IMG does they're going to be particularly troubled by guidelines that preclude things that historically we've felt are precluded, so I don't see a big problem here with where we're headed. I would be surprised.

I think most people in the game, virtually everybody, players, sponsors, tournaments, management companies, players, are going to say, yes, this makes sense. Let's get on to the next thing. I think we maybe tend to be making a mountain out of a mole hill here.

Q. I want to go back to clubs for a second. Can you define infrastructure renewal for me? And how --

COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: Yes, clubhouse, golf course, surrounding the golf course, stadium mounds, ingress and egress, parking areas, stadium fan areas, whatever you see as you come or leave from a golf tournament, that would be tournament infrastructure.

Q. How much are you talking about investing, and are you looking at perhaps liquidating some of the TPC courses that don't show positive cash flow?

COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: I'm not looking at liquidating anything, and what we may or may not spend is a matter we would discuss on a case-by-case basis at the appropriate time.

Q. The usual media protocols for the winner and the runner up to be brought into the media room on Sunday night, the last two weeks the No. 1 player in the world has declined to do his interview. I'm wondering if there's anything we can do to impress upon him and the other players that that's more than a suggestion and that we spend a lot of money and wherewithal trying to cover these tournaments and deserve to be accommodated.

COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: What we have done, what we are doing, what we will continue to do is to encourage our players to make themselves available to your requests and to make themselves available when our staff requests them to do things. We've had, I think it's fair to say, on that score a tremendous amount of success over the years and have had a positive response to that. I think if you compare us to other sports, our response rate is extremely good. But that notwithstanding, we're not satisfied with anything less than 100 percent cooperation, and we'd like to see 100 percent cooperation.

It was a matter that we stressed, I think, three different times in last night's meeting with all of our players, the import of making themselves available, not just generally but specifically as we get into the weekend, and especially as we get into the weekend if they're in the hunt. We've been very direct about it and will continue to focus on problems as they occur. But I think we've been consistent in our approach and will continue to be aggressive in that regard.

Q. Any bending to the Retief Goosen rule for lack of a better world, the Pro-Am mishap at Nissan?

COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: As I explained to the players last night, I am not planning to recommend any change to that regulation right now. We've had a little over a year of experience with that rule. We've had three players disqualified, two last year and one this year, but the rule has had the effect that it was designed to have, and I think that it needs a little bit more time to see whether it would continue to generate unfortunate situations like that.

I frankly think that as unfortunate as the situation was, there's always a silver lining in just about everything. I think it's really got the players focused on the regulation and the importance of making your tee time on Wednesday and the detail of what you can do if for some reason you're precluded from doing that prior, and I'd like to think that two years from now, instead of two or one, it's zero DQs. If we got to the point where it's zero, I hope we'd all be comfortable in moving ahead, but at this point we're not recommending a change.

Q. Do you know how many players didn't show before this policy went into effect, like at least the year before or the two years before?

COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: The two years prior to we averaged 54 total no-shows. By the way, it wasn't any one player not showing five times. This was any number of players missing any Pro-Am, a few missing two. We went from that to last year two DQs. We had eight or nine excused absences last year. This year we have one DQ, no excused absences, and we clearly have a better appreciation for the impact of the rule and the details of the rule.

So the problems we're having are on the decrease and if that trend were to continue I'd be comfortable continuing it, but if that's not the case I'd be happy to take a look at it.

Q. Under that scenario you just mentioned about possibly moving the TOUR Championship earlier, would events following that be counted on next year's Money List like the European Tour has in come cases?

COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: Possibly. Possibly we might. Like I said before this, there's official money events here, especially in the United States, there's international events potential, there's events that are currently in our challenge season ^. We may forward a schedule at the end of the year that looks very similar to what we currently do. We may forward a schedule that looks significantly different. They may be somewhere in between.

We're looking at lots of different things. Our challenge today, just like it is with Tournament Players Clubs, television, a lot of different things, let's just don't assume the way we've done things in the past. Is there a better way to do things? I think the important thing is not to get wrapped around the axle right now on whether we might do this or whether we might do that. The important thing is recognize what we're focused on, and what we're focused on is what's important for fans, what's important for sponsors and television, what contributes to quality playing opportunities, what allows us to grow our financial benefits to players and what allows us to grow charitable dollars. Those are the four things that are really important. Everything we look at we bounce off of those four things and look at it and feel it and touch it, and there are lots of different ways to do that. So it's an exhaustive exercise.

We're still doing a lot of research. There are a lot of things involved in this exercise that we don't know the answers to yet just because the detail of programming and other things, all this relates back to television to some extent, and there are things in the television landscape that are unclear to us right now and will be unclear for months to come. It's just a work in progress, and I would encourage you not to assume any one direction or any one train of thought because, frankly, we are very fluid at this point.

BOB COMBS: Thank you, Tim, and especially thank all of you. I know we haven't picked off all of your questions. As the week goes on, Tim or other executive staff will try to do that. I'll be back in touch with you. Thanks for your attendance.

End of FastScripts.

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