SBD/Issue 238/Leagues & Governing Bodies

Print All
  • Tiger Woods, Ernie Els Offer Criticisms Of Finchem, FedEx Cup

    Woods Criticizes New Schedule
    With FedEx Cup Playoffs
    As the BMW Championship, the third event in the PGA Tour Playoffs for the FedEx Cup begins today near Chicago, Ernie Els and Tiger Woods yesterday both delivered strong criticisms of the new format.  Els said the players and Commissioner Tim Finchem's office have "grown apart from each other because of these big decisions that were made without the real knowledge of the players.” Woods questioned a schedule that featured seven big events -- including the PGA Championship and President's Cup -- over a nine week span. Woods: “We all didn't think it was in the best interest for us as players to play that much. We normally don't play that much, especially towards the end of the year.” But Finchem said, “If you go back and look over the last three years, the number of player meetings that have been called to discuss the details of the Cup, the number of PAC meetings that have been called, the amount of information that's been distributed to players. In hindsight, I feel comfortable that we did a good job in reaching out to players on the details. Now, over the last six months, we've discovered that a lot of players, regardless of the amount of information that might have been discussed, didn't necessarily, for whatever reason, want to pay much attention to it.” He added that sponsorship and TV contracts would likely preclude changing the schedule from four-straight events next season. Finchem also addressed Phil Mickelson, who skipped this week’s tournament after referencing problems he had with Finchem and the playoff format. Finchem: “He indicated in his statement that he has a couple of issues that he's made suggestions on that haven't been implemented, and he's not happy about that. But that's between me and him.”

    Els Questions Deferred Payment
    Of Bonus To FedEx Cup Winner
    BONUS BABIES? Woods and Els also questioned the $10M bonus for the FedEx Cup winner coming as a deferred payment, rather than an immediate lump sum. Els: “I don't think Tiger knew about it; Phil didn't know about it; I didn't know about it; a lot of people didn't know.” Woods said, “I think that’s one of the major issues for all of us. ... How great would it be like in the World Series of Poker, at the first tee starting the first day of the Tour Championship, that's all you see is it stacked up there and that's what you're playing for. That would create a lot of buzz.” Finchem later clarified that the Tour in no way benefits financially from deferring the payment or awarding it as a lump sum.

    BMW: Woods also criticized plans to move the BMW Championship to different markets in the Midwest, with the occasional return to Chicago. Woods: “I didn't like that idea. I think this is a great town. It's one of the biggest sport towns, if not one of the biggest markets we have in our country. I just don't understand why we can't play here year after year.” Finchem said moving the tournament around to courses near Indianapolis and St. Louis will better serve the Tour’s interests, adding, “I think it was a good decision” (THE DAILY). Finchem, in a Q&A with the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, said, “The reaction that we’ve had about rotating out of Chicago hasn’t been lost on us. ... We’re not decided long-term. Other people are involved -- the tournament sponsor, the Western Golf Association and the fans -- so we’ll be having those discussions. I don’t see us in any position where we have to rush to any conclusions” (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 9/6). Finchem also said that Medinah Country Club near Chicago hosting the 2012 Ryder Cup would not keep the Tour from returning the same year to Cog Hill for the third FedEx Cup event. Finchem: “If we wanted to play here in 2012, Chicago could support a BWM and Ryder Cup.” He also acknowledged that the BMW could be in S.F. “at some point in the next decade,” as the Tour has an agreement to put at least one event in the city by 2019. Finchem: “This tournament could be one of our options” (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 9/6).

    CHANGES COMING? Finchem has been noncommittal on potential tweaks to the FedEx Cup system, and yesterday he offered slightly conflicting statements on where changes can be expected. At his press conference he said, “I don't feel compelled as we sit here today to change anything about this system. I want to hear players explain to me what their concerns are, what they would like to see happen, why it's better, and then we have a process.” But in an interview taped yesterday for Golf Channel’s “Golf Central,” he added, “Everybody says, ‘Are you going to tweak the system?’ Probably, but the fundamentals are working” (THE DAILY).

    REAX: In Chicago, Mike Downey writes under the header, “FedEx Fails To Deliver.” Downey: “If the golfers don’t treat it like a major, it’s a minor.” Golfer Aaron Oberholser said Woods and Mickelson “drive the Tour. And when they don’t play, the event is not the same thing” (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 9/6). Also in Chicago, Tim Cronin wonders, “Is there a place on the calendar for [a four-week playoff]?” Woods: “There really isn’t. If the schedule is this short, there really isn’t” (DAILY SOUTHTOWN, 9/6). In Dallas, Bill Nichols writes Mickelson “made a statement” by skipping this week’s event that said, “Professional golfers are so pampered, they don’t mind damaging the inaugural FedEx Cup because it’s not exactly how they wanted it” (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 9/6). In Orlando, Mike Bianchi asks Finchem, “Why should we care about your sport when your own golfers don’t? If ever a group of professional athletes deserved the scorn and the derision of the American working stiff, it is the golfers who have turned the [playoffs] into an indisputable end-of-the-season punch line” (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 9/6). But in Nashville, Joe Biddle writes, “Next year will be the litmus test. It will need more tweaking. Will the top stars commit to playing?” (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 9/6).

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies
  • WNBA Finals Game One Does Not Draw Well In Detroit

    Detroit Fails To Pack The House
    For First Game Of WNBA Finals
    The reported attendance of 10,513 for last night's Mercury-Shock WNBA Finals Game One “points to some creative counting,” as the 22,076-seat Palace of Auburn Hills “was only a fourth full,” according to Joanne Gerstner of the DETROIT NEWS. The entire upper section was curtained off, so "if only about 5,000 showed and there were 4,000 free tickets available, what does that say about the WNBA?”  The Shock have “drawn good crowds” during their playoff run -- “around 10,000 without accounting creativity.” There was also a lower bowl sellout of 11,425 during the Eastern Conference Finals.  WNBA President Donna Orender said, “I don’t think this is a bad turnout, I really don’t. We expect [Game Two] Saturday to be a packed house.” Palace Sports & Entertainment President Tom Wilson said, “I wish I knew what exactly kept people away. Maybe it was the short turnaround between games, or maybe the start of school, or people stuck at work -- who knows? We didn’t have much time to really get the word out. But we’re confident that Saturday will bring out the large ... crowd." There are still 3,000 of the 4,000 free tickets available for Saturday’s Game Two at 3:30pm ET, which goes up against Oregon-Michigan on ABC.  The start time of a potential Game Five on September 16 overlaps with Vikings-Lions (DETROIT NEWS, 9/6).

    UNDECIDED MAJOR: Storm F Lauren Jackson, who was named MVP yesterday, was asked if she will return to the Storm if the team agrees to move to Oklahoma City.  Jackson: “If the team’s there, it’s pretty well set that I’ll be back. … But if they move, who knows" ("WNBA Finals Game One," ESPN, 9/5).

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies
  • League Notes

    Mitchell Still Wants To Speak To
    Number Of MLBers For Steroid Probe
    In N.Y., Michael Schmidt notes as of mid-August, MLB steroid investigator George Mitchell “still wanted to speak with at least 45 [players], most of them still active.” That number emerged from a letter the MLBPA sent August 23 to Mitchell, in which the union said that “it would let him know if any of those 45 changed their minds about not wanting to be interviewed.” The letter was read to a N.Y. TIMES reporter by one of the players’ representatives (N.Y. TIMES, 9/6)....The NBA BOG approved official use of instant replay to review all player altercations and flagrant foul two calls (NBA)....USA TODAY’s Christine Brennan writes FIFA displayed “bad instincts and poor choices” in scheduling the Women’s World Cup in September, which puts it "in direct competition with the start of men's pro soccer leagues around the world — and in the U.S. market, where the 1999 Women's World Cup thrived, up against the end of the baseball season and the beginning of college and pro football." Brennan: “It’s a recipe for disaster in TV ratings and news coverage" (USA TODAY, 9/6). 

    Print | Tags: Leagues and Governing Bodies
Video Powered By - Castfire CMS Powered By - Sitecore

Report a Bug