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August 28, 2013

Tim Finchem


Q.テつ Can you talk about FOX?テつ I know that the likelihood is that you probably wouldn't be commissioner when the next deal comes up, but how does that change the landscape down the road?
COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM:テつ That's a long discussion, I mean it's always nice to have multiple entities in the sport.テつ There are positives, a few negatives, but there are positives, to have companies invested in the sport in any way results in more focus on the sport from those broadcast companies.テつ For example ESPN, they had some programming, but they're more interested in what's going on because they have that programming.
So there are a lot of different advantages.テつ I think it's to our advantage long‑term.テつ There will be some transition challenges there, but I think it's to your advantage long‑term to have them involved.テつ We've talked to FOX a number of times in the last 10, 15 years, and we just never got to arrangement, but we know they have an interest.

Q.テつ What kind of interest do they have?テつ How do you measure it?テつ Have you ever come close to anything with them?
COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM:テつ I don't know how to really characterize that.テつ We had serious, robust conversations in the middle of two of the negotiations in the last three.テつ And mainly‑‑ one of the main issues with them is scheduling.テつ I mean they have a lot of baseball.テつ They have a lot of NASCAR.テつ They have stuff, given the way FOX is set up.テつ And we really like our two network arrangement right now anyways.

Q.テつ Did you have any concern about their ability to handle golf, considering they've never done it before?
COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM:テつ Well, it's going to be a work‑in‑progress.テつ They've got to build a capability there, working with the USGA, and I'm sure they will.テつ But I don't know if concern is the right word.テつ They're professionals, they do an excellent job in producing the other sports that they have.テつ I'm sure they'll get the talent together to do a good job for the USGA, but it will be interesting to see what happens when that lines out.テつ When they get certain people in certain positions we'll find out.

Q.テつ You said about three years ago you talked about one day there would be a global Tour.テつ You thought it was heading that way.テつ You didn't know when or you didn't know what kind of shape it would take.テつ Do you think it's anything that could happen in your tenure?
COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM:テつ I don't know what "it" is, first of all.テつ I think what we focused on over the years is doing more things together and doing more things together that we think help the strength of the overall platform promote what these players do for the fans and sponsors.テつ And we've made a fair amount of progress over the last 15 years doing that.
So the question in front of us now, is there a next step or next two steps.テつ It's not really are we going to get to "a place," it's what the track looks like over the next 20 years.テつ And we recognize that golf is growing, starting to really pick up growth in areas globally where historically where they haven't been, especially on the women's side in some of those areas, like Asia.
So when you think of different ways that competition could be organized on a global basis, you start with is this the best way we have now, even though we've improved it in the last 15 years, is there a better way.テつ And long‑term, what should the way be.テつ Just look at all the other sports and how they do it, that are global sports.テつ And we are truly a global sport.
So what I've said over the years is we really need to pay attention to that, work on it, and try to figure out ways to enhance that, a lot of ideas that are floating around.

Q.テつ Do you have any clarity, anymore clarity, on what that might be?
COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM:テつ I mean, not that I would share, in terms of specific ideas, but there are specific ideas that we are talking about and have been talking about for a period of time.
I think that it's more like an evolution than a, okay, now we're going to jump over here and do things a lot differently.テつ And that protects our relationship with our partners and hopefully means that we're spending the time and energy to do the right set of things.
Looking back, we have made a lot of progress.テつ And whether it's in team competitions, World Cup, World Golf Championships, the FedExCup here, the Dubai thing there.テつ There is a lot of movement and different things.テつ And they've helped create a situation where we have the biggest fan base globally now than we've ever had.テつ We're going in the right direction.テつ You also have to keep the Olympics in focus in terms of how that plays out, from a scheduling standpoint, how it plays out from elevating the focus on the sport in a different way.テつ So there's a lot to it.テつ But we're actively talking about it, and talking to the Tours about it.

Q.テつ Is a strong European Tour good for you, does it weaken you or is it bad for you?
COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM:テつ If you look back over the last 50 years, where professional golf has been strong, the game grows much better than if professional golf is weaker.テつ The stronger the professional game gets the more the game works.テつ That's not just in an elite player involvement, but playing the game recreationally.
Having strong Tours in areas that either have or have the potential to have a lot of golf generated is in everybody's interests.テつ And that's one of our‑‑ that's one of the things we're focused on.テつ We're doing‑‑ we have virtually everybody playing our Tour right now.テつ Does that‑‑ is that necessarily the best model, given what these other Tours need to generate, I think we need to pay attention to that.

Q.テつ Can you describe your confidence level going into the first round of the playoff season.テつ Are you sure‑‑ have you gauged players' reactions to it?テつ Are you apprehensive at all?
COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM:テつ No, I'm just excited about it.テつ I think that‑‑ first of all, I think ending everything at the same point in time has huge advantages for us, where we can give out the FedExCup, send the ballots out to the players to vote on Player of the Year a few hours later, announce that result within a number of days of that, or a week of that, identify the Arnold Palmer Award winner, all of that is going to happen for the first time ever at the same time.テつ So I think that in and of itself is exciting.
And then I think having a FedExCup points list in development when we get into the holidays, that we do have some real strong promotional opportunities through the holidays through our television partners, and to be able to really start to get that story out before we get into Hawaii is going to pay dividends, too.
I mean after all, in the last five years, the biggest thing about this Tour has been the focus the fans have on the younger players.テつ And with the final events on the Web.com playing into this and the restructured season, it really allows us to better tell the story of the upcoming younger players in a way that we think allows them to become more relevant earlier, as we get into that next year.
So we like it from a lot of perspectives.テつ I'd be surprised if this played out and we looked at it and said, hey, this isn't working.テつ I'd be very, very surprised.テつ We may have issues and problems and things that we need to change, I don't know, we always do.テつ But I think fundamentally it's going in the right direction and I'm just pretty excited about it.テつ We still have to execute it, but we'll see what evolves.

Q.テつ You're staying with Hyundai right now?テつ You would have thought that would have been done by now.
COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM:テつ We don't see any change in the Hyundai situation.テつ I think they're going to continue to be our partner.テつ I don't even know off the top of my head where we are contractually.テつ But I don't see any issues there.

Q.テつ When we talk about the World Tour, how much did the financial downturn make it difficult to try to progress along, A, and B, does it all come down to the world economy and how that goes, no matter how many people are playing golf?
COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM:テつ No, I don't think‑‑ I never even thought about what the downturn did to the progression of where we were going.テつ I mean generally what you want to do with these things is get things going and then allow them to grow and see where you are.テつ You don't‑‑ you just don't do something and turnaround and do something else.テつ So I think time frame is fine.テつ And there's nothing urgent about any of this.テつ I think professional golf has made a lot of strides in the last five years, not just here, but around the globe, and continues to do so.テつ And if there's a way we can do it better together then that's good.テつ But if it's ten years or 15 years, I think we're still headed in the right direction.テつ So I don't feel like this is a situation where we have to fix anything. テつThings are moving very well.

Q.テつ When you have a sponsor like, I'm not sure HSBC is a good example, but maybe BMW, which has a title on both Tours, have you ever talked to them or they ever talked to you about doing things jointly?
COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM:テつ We've never been‑‑ I mean other than‑‑ what‑‑ the only thing we've talked to sponsors about are things that are happening that we can bring to a sponsor is say, you know, here is an involvement for you to take advantage of.
Their focus is typically one to three years out.テつ They've got marketing dollars, they need to send them now.テつ They're not thinking five years out about what they can do with their money.テつ They're trying to sell their products and entertain their customers and build their brand right now.
So, no, I think you work together.テつ You bring forward change.テつ And then you've got to get it to the sponsor market.テつ I think one of the advantages of working together is seeking to provide a consistent performance and delivery to sponsors globally, something that's missing right now.テつ It's a fairly different exercise, different places in the globe, and you have an increasing number of companies that are global, they're in golf, they want to do things in different places, but the product they get back is very different.テつ That's one of the things we could focus on, but there are a number of things.

Q.テつ Can you confirm that you have a deadline with Tampa to September 1st?
COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM:テつ I don't think I want to confirm any deadlines.テつ We're making progress in talking about Tampa.テつ And we don't have anything to announce right now, but hopefully we will in the short‑term.

Q.テつ Is Puerto Rico an option if you can't get something done in Tampa?
COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM:テつ We're looking at a number of options with respect to Tampa so it would be‑‑

Q.テつ Premature?
COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM:テつ Well, it's just speculative.

Q.テつ What about the FOX House last week, they had a financial agreement with USGA.テつ Those numbers kind of catch you up off guard with the size of them or reporting?
COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM:テつ First of all, I don't react to numbers I see in the media.テつ But I think that‑‑ I would assume that given the fact that FOX is building a new sports outlet that‑‑ and they're obviously spending money in other sports that the terms and the deal were very attractive to the USGA, particularly in light of the fact that NBC has done a very, very solid job with respect to the U.S. Open for a number of years, and the other properties that the USGA has.テつ I'm sure that the financial part of that deal was very positive.

Q.テつ What would you say about Greg Norman being in the booth, as an analyst?
COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM:テつ I've talked to Greg a number of times he'd be good at television.テつ I don't think he has the interest in doing it.テつ But I think he would be good at television.テつ I think he's charismatic, he comes across good on the air, he's opinionated.テつ But there are a lot of options out there.テつ But I think he'd be good.

Q.テつ If The Presidents Cup goes a U.S. win again here, obviously if seems very stacked.テつ There are a lot of discussions about making changes to the format.テつ If it got to the point of the U.S. winning again, would you then be inclined to seriously look at the changes, if the Internationals felt that was necessary?
COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM:テつ Well, we're always open to looking at change.テつ And we looked at some changes this time.テつ We think that The Presidents Cup is young.テつ It's gone through a couple of phases competitively, we don't see any reason to make changes right now.テつ But absolutely, we look at this every year.テつ Six months we may change our mind, I don't know.テつ Right now we feel very comfortable where we are.テつ There are about ten things at the Presidents Cup you look at every year and/or two years, is this still working, should we go a different direction.テつ But right now I wouldn't assume that we necessarily would make any changes.

Q.テつ I don't know if you can comment on the lawsuit that Vijay filed.テつ Are you expecting or hoping for a resolution anytime soon?テつ Do you think it has been or could become a distraction at all?
COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM:テつ When you have litigation in the United States, it's always good not to assume that there is going to be any resolution anytime soon because litigation in the United States takes forever.テつ But I don't have any comment about it.テつ The facts have been pretty much been reported in the media about what it's all about and we'll see what happens.

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