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SBD/January 6, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies
Finchem Wants To Create New Stars, But Needs Tiger Back In Form
Published January 6, 2011
PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem said the Tour's "focus this year really is about creating new stars for the future." Appearing on Golf Channel's "Morning Drive" in a taped interview prior to the season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions, Finchem said, "We've got a lot of guys who are playing really well right now, so our first focus is to create new stars." He added, "Our second focus really is to connect with the fans and things like FedExCup. ... The fans are really into it, but we want to build on that success this year. Then I think the third thing is, we've had great success the last couple of years and talking more effectively about the other things the PGA Tour does, whether it's charitable giving, economic impact and what's happening in the sport, with respect to diversity, … and the growth around the globe. We want to concentrate on those messages to make sure people are paying attention to what this sport is all about beyond just the competition." Finchem did note it is "important" that Tiger Woods has a successful season after going winless in '10. Finchem: "He still continues to be our No. 1 player. ... What he does when he's in the hunt and playing well is he brings more interest and excitement and focus to the game from people who traditionally don't watch it." The commissioner noted the Tour had a "very solid year in '10," but Woods "gives us that extra edge." He said, "To have the most compelling year we can have, we need him to play well, we need him to be competitive and candidly, I think that's exactly what we're going to see from him."
STARS STAYING IN EUROPE GOOD FOR GAME: Finchem noted he was "not surprised" that several of the top European players, including Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy, elected to play in Europe instead of exclusively on the PGA Tour. He said, "We have 75 players who are not Americans as exempt players on the PGA Tour. ... The couple of decisions players have made recently to play a little bit more in Europe, European players, is a positive. The reason I say that is I think a strong European Tour is in the interest of golf, it's in the interest of the PGA Tour and it's important. When we moved The Players' Championship to May and when we added the FedExCup and the FedExCup Playoffs at the end of the summer, and the recognition that the top players who belong to both tours -- European Tour and U.S. tour -- are going to play all of that, it really put pressure on the European Tour. So they're reacting to that and they're encouraging players to play more and we're in favor of that" ("Morning Drive," Golf Channel, 1/6). More Finchem: "The European Tour has been under a lot of pressure, and we didn't help their cause. So the fact that they have worked hard to encourage their players to play more ... is understandable. And we don't complain about that" (AP, 1/5).