home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


December 10, 2000

Tim Finchem


NELSON LUIS: We'd like to welcome PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem into the interview room. Perhaps some opening comments as to how you believe this week for the inaugural EMC2 World Cup has gone here in Argentina.

COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: Thank you, Nelson. We are delighted with what has happened here this week. The World Cup has a history of almost a half a century, and to have it become one of the World Golf Championships is a positive development both for the World Golf Championships and for golf. But what has happened in Argentina this week is fantastic, and we're delighted with the galleries and the organization, and, of course, the competition has been superb.

NELSON LUIS: We'd like to open it up for questions.

Q. The World Cup had its highlights during the '60s and the '70s, and then it had like a low time; it wasn't even played on two occasions, I think. But now with the PGA TOUR taking over, we can say that it has had some importance once again. My question is: With this new emphasis that you are giving to the World Cup, why is it that the main or the most important players of the world refuse to attend? Because we know that it is not for the money, because they have plenty. Is it because they have no interest, is it because they do not like the format, or is it because they have a problem with dates?

COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: Well, first of all, I think that there are a lot of great players here playing. Certainly, to have David Duval and Tiger Woods representing the United States, it's difficult to imagine a better representation, with at least that company. We also have a good number of players from the Top-100 players in the world playing, representing their countries from other countries. I think that the World Cup now positioned as a World Golf Championships will continue to grow in stature. I think in golf, stature of a championship has many elements; and what has happened here this week with the reaction from the fans, from the media, from the strength of the worldwide distribution of this very good competition, will enhance that stature. And then next year at Taiheiyo Club in Japan, it will be advanced farther. And as long as we are moving in the direction of continuing to advance the championship, the field quality overall will continue to grow, as well. You are very good! (Referring to Spanish interpreter.) I would say that this is the first year -- we have some new changes to the World Cup. We have a new format. We think the format is one that is excellent for this kind of competition. We think that will enhance the championship going forward. We have a new television package; we have new television distribution. Millions and millions of more fans will see the World Cup this year than have ever seen it before. All of these things come together to impact the quality of a championship, and we have set a good base now to go forward.

Q. You just said the galleries, the course, the level of players -- is there any chance to receive in South America any other of the tournaments in the World Golf Championships?

COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: Well, I would say yes, without being specific. But I think that any time the communication of golf interest like we're seeing this week is made to a worldwide audience, that creates interest in sponsors, it creates interest in television networks, it creates interest among players. What we're seeing is a reminder of where golf has come in Argentina since Roberto De Vicenzo was in his prime, and it is a wonderful story. And that's what's happening in South America. And we need to look at ways to further enhance that interest and grow the game in South America. And certainly, one of those things is to look at this kind of championship being played here, and other places, as well.

Q. Commissioner, I think in the last weeks, there has been a lot of talk about what Tiger said and what the Commissioner said. My question would be -- I think it happened with Michael Jordan a little bit with the NBA about his image. And how do you deal with that as a commissioner, that the TOUR has the right to promote the image of the players, but the player also has the right to promote his own image? Somebody like Tiger Woods, how do you deal with his commitments and the commitment the TOUR has with its players?

COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: First of all, the PGA TOUR is very different than the NBA. The PGA TOUR is a players association, so our mission is to create direct and indirect benefits to players, as well as to protect and to grow the game. The structure of the PGA TOUR does essentially two things directly for a player. It creates a platform for that player to utilize from the perspective of their own marketing opportunities, and it generates direct financial benefits to the player -- or I should say, direct financial opportunity, because everything in our system is based on the quality of the competition. And from time to time, there are concerns by top players about that relationship; but in virtually every case, if the PGA TOUR understands fully the interests of the player and the player understands fully the direction of the TOUR, things can be worked out in a way that work both for the individual player and for all of the other players at the same time. That certainly has been the history, and I think that will continue to be the situation in the future.

Q. This is only a small criticism of what has been a wonderful week, but have you got a comment on what Tiger said about the leaderboards, about how they are sort of bashing out so many things that the players cannot see their scores?

COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: I'm not directly aware of that comment, but if we have a problem, I assume the staff is working on it. But we won't do a review of the tournament until after the tournament, but I'm sure it is something that can be fixed.

Q. Was the PGA TOUR satisfied with the presentation of the course?

COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: Yes. Yes. The golf course was in -- well, we defer a lot to the players, but the staff that came said that they were very pleased with the work that had been done here that had been done with the golf course. The players have been pleased with the quality of the conditions, and that is reflected in the scoring, I think. So we were very pleased, and we're very appreciative to Gianfranco Macri and everyone here who has worked so hard to present the club in this condition.

Q. On the one hand, if you put on a scale of 1 to 10, how did you see this tournament, what your evaluation of this tournament is, besides the presentation of the course. All in all, on a scale of 1 to 10, what would be the score for the course? And on the other hand, you always speak about media or television, especially, but do you also think that print media and radio, are they important, too? Do you think that they have an important place, an important position in this tournament? The job that they do every day, is that important to the PGA TOUR?

COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: The first question, I would rate it very high, simply because the operations -- we have not been involved in operating the tournament here, and for the operations to go as well as they have and everything, from preparing the golf course, to handling the traffic, to working with setting up the corporate hospitality and all of those things, from an operations standpoint, worked very, very well. And again, I would like to thank the Buenos Aires Golf Club, because without the cooperation of the club, the club management and ownership, that kind of operational success would not have been possible. On the second question, the importance of the print media is absolute. In particular, we're so pleased with the print media support here in Buenos Aires last week leading into the championship to this week, because that helps us in terms of conveying to the fan base in Buenos Aires what is happening; that would not be possible. Around the world, print media communicating the story in more detail than television does, and the behind-the-scenes messages of what is happening, is very, very important as well. Just in the case of the United States, the impact of magazine and newspaper interest in our sport is crucial to its success and positioning, and that would be the same here at the World Golf Championships in Buenos Aires.

Q. I'd like to know what kind of relationship do you have now with Tiger Woods, the PGA TOUR and Tiger Woods, after what all has been said, Tiger saying that the PGA TOUR was exploiting his image?

COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: I think we said it all a couple of weeks ago. We had an excellent meeting, we had an excellent dialogue, and we have set a framework for discussion of those kind of issues going forward that is very, very positive. So we're delighted, and it is our job to work closely with our players. So I'm delighted that we have made the progress that we have, and we look forward to a very smooth working relationship going forward.

Q. Has the PGA TOUR any plans to change the actual foursome, best-ball system, taking into consideration that there are some positions against it?

COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: We have no plans at this time. We think the combination of foursomes and four-ball is a good format to test the competitive skills of a team. It puts a different kind of pressure on the team when you shift from four-ball to foursomes. Is it the only way? Is it the best way? I'm not certain. But it is a good way, and we want it to be very much a team competition. That is what it is; it is a team competition representing your country. So we like this format. Now, as we often always do, we will review the World Cup, and we'll consider it, and we'll talk to players about it, and we'll watch it. I happen to be -- I always side for continuity so you can compare competitive performance. But we will review it. I don't think we're ever wedded to anything. I learned a long time ago, you never say never. It is just something that will be considered.

Q. The first question is why did you choose Australia in January for the first championship? Do you think that can make many players withdraw because they have such a long way, such a long trip to Australia? Maybe they lose in the first round. So it is maybe a long way, and there is a lot of risk. The second question is the American Express Championship, did you move it to another date because you wanted to give more importance to the Volvo Masters and the TOUR Championship? And last, why is it coming back to the States? Why isn't it outside, in another country?

COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: Question number one: The reason we scheduled Australia was because we wanted to a play a World Golf Championships in Australia. There is no great date to go to Australia. We will lose players because it is such a long trip from Europe and from the United States. However, we will have 64 of the top 83 or 84 players in the world playing, and it will be the largest, deepest competition in the history of Australia. When we finished the first two years of the World Golf Championships, 93 or 94 percent of the players who are eligible will have played. I think in the second two years of the World Golf Championships, 97 or 98 percent of the eligible players will have played in the second two years. Second question, on the American Express Championship. Partially the reason was to move the date up before the TOUR Championship, but an equally strong reason was to be able to access by earlier date golf courses in the northern part of the United States when we play in the United States, and in the northern part of Europe when we play in Europe, to give us a better selection of golf course venues for the American Express Championship. Both reasons were important. I think the third question was going back to the United States with the World Cup. We plan to play in Japan next year, and we have not set the location in 2002 or 2003. We're not necessarily going back to the United States. And we think with all of the World Golf Championships, we have a good mix of playing in the United States and playing other places in the world.

Q. Did it ever cross your mind when you took the commissioner's job that the biggest sports figure in the world would be a golfer like Tiger Woods is today?

COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: No. When I took this job, Tiger was 18. I did not believe that it was possible, or I did not foresee a player being -- given the quality of competition -- being able to separate himself from the rest of the players the way Tiger has done. I did not foresee that. It is a wonderful thing, to have the most admired, most successful, most popular athlete in the world in your sport. So, I didn't foresee it, but I'm grateful that it happened.

NELSON LUIS: Commissioner, thank you very much for your time.

COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: Thank you very much.

End of FastScripts....

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297