SBD/January 26, 2011/Media

Finchem Admits PGA Tour Will Employ TV-Friendly Pairings For Tiger

Woods (l), Mediate competed in an 18-hole playoff at Torrey Pines during '08 U.S. Open
Tiger Woods will play the first two rounds of his '11 PGA Tour season at this week's Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines with Rocco Mediate and Anthony Kim, and PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem acknowledged that there "will be more made-for-TV-and-Tiger pairings this year," according to Diane Pucin of the L.A. TIMES. Finchem said that there still is a "formula that takes into consideration such things as world rankings, money winnings, Nationwide Tour finishes and many other factors." But he added, "We are going to do it a fair amount during the course of the year. It does help our television product. We also think it creates a little bit more interest." During the '08 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, Mediate and an injured Woods competed through an "extra 18 holes on the fifth day plus a sudden-death hole before Woods won." Mediate yesterday said, "Funny how that pairing happened, huh? What a shocker" (L.A. TIMES, 1/26). In N.Y., Larry Dorman notes the Farmers Insurance Open grouping of "local favorite Phil Mickelson, the budding star Dustin Johnson and the English standout Justin Rose also appeared to be no accident." Mickelson and Johnson "often play practice rounds together, were teamed up in last year’s Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor, and should put on a long-drive display guaranteed to provoke some wonderment from galleries." The PGA Tour "will need the lift as it begins negotiations this year to renew its network television contract, which is set to expire" in '12 (N.Y. TIMES, 1/26).

TIME TO DRAW THE LINE? The AP's Doug Ferguson reported Finchem is "asking the USGA to review the Rules of Golf after two prominent players were disqualified for rules violations that were reported after they signed their scorecards." TV viewers this season have "called in violations" on Camilo Villegas and Padraig Harrington. The golfers were "assessed two-shot penalties, but because officials were notified after the round, the players were disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard." Finchem yesterday said, "I just think that there's a lot of discomfort with this whole situation and questions raised." He noted that he is "to meet with the USGA executive committee next week at its annual meeting, and he has spoken with the European Tour, which he said has joined him in questioning the rule." Finchem: "I feel comfortable given the quality of the people at the USGA today that if we can just get into a room and talk seriously about the options, we ought to be able to give this a very careful review" (AP, 1/25).
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