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Volume 22 No. 34
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Timeline: PGA Tour under Commissioner Tim Finchem

1987
Tim Finchem joins the PGA Tour in December as vice president of business affairs.

1989
Finchem is named deputy commissioner and chief operating officer.

1994
Finchem, at age 47, succeeds Deane Beman as the PGA Tour’s third commissioner on June 1.
Anheuser-Busch becomes the tour’s official beer. It remains today its longest-tenured partner.
The Presidents Cup launches, pitting the world’s best non-European players in team match-play competition against an American contingent, in a biennial event similar to the Ryder Cup.

With former President Gerald Ford at the 1994 Presidents Cup the year Finchem was named PGA Tour commissioner
Photo by: GETTY IMAGES

1996
Golf’s five world governing bodies — the PGA Tour, European Tour, Japan Golf Tour Organization, PGA Tour of Australasia and the Southern Africa Sunshine Tour — form the International Federation of PGA Tours and seek to create new international events.

1999
The tour’s new four-year media rights deal begins, and the $576 million total cost to the networks marks a 150 percent increase above the previous deal.
The inaugural World Golf Championships event, the Dell Match Play Championship, is held at La Costa Resort and Spa in Carlsbad, Calif.

2003
At the Bank of America Colonial, Annika Sorenstam becomes the first woman since Babe Zaharias in 1945 to play a PGA Tour event. She shoots 5-over par, tying for 96th out of the 111 who finished the first two rounds, missing the cut.
Six networks — ABC, CBS, NBC, ESPN, USA and The Golf Channel — each begin a four-year rights deal and will pay a combined $850 million through the 2006 season.

2005
Satellite radio provider XM signs a four-year, $6 million deal with the tour.

Promoting the game in China in 2007
Photo by: GETTY IMAGES
2006
Turner begins overseeing the tour’s digital business, including sales, marketing and operations. The tour will continue to run the editorial side.

2007
Six-year TV deals begin with CBS and NBC, totaling $2.95 billion. A 15-year deal with Golf Channel as the tour’s exclusive cable partner will run concurrently.
The inaugural FedEx Cup, a playoff concept spearheaded by Finchem, is won by Tiger Woods.
The tour decides to sell some of its Tournament Players Club courses, reaching an agreement with Heritage Golf Group for the sale of four TPC courses: TPC Eagle Trace, TPC Michigan, TPC Piper Glen and TPC Prestancia. Although they will be owned and operated by Heritage Golf Group, all retain their TPC branding. In 2008, TPC Tampa Bay becomes the fifth course bought by Heritage Golf Group. Licensed by the tour, the TPC Network comprises 34 courses. Eighteen of the clubs are operated by affiliates of the tour.

Laughing with Phil Mickelson in 2008
Photo by: GETTY IMAGES
2008
The tour institutes its first drug-testing program.
Finchem launches a bid for golf to become an Olympic sport.

2009
Public scrutiny of the tour’s partners soars, as eight of the tour’s 2009 events feature primary corporate partners that combined to receive $105 billion in federal bailout funds tied to the Troubled Assets Relief Program.

2011
A new nine-year TV agreement is signed with CBS and NBC through 2021. CBS and NBC hold rights for 31 annual events, but the PGA Tour can opt out of the deal after the 2018 season. Terms are not released, but the tour’s public filings indicate that it received $365 million from TV rights revenue in 2013 (the first year of the deal) and $383 million in 2014.
Acquires Tour de las Américas and folds it into the new PGA Tour Latinoamérica.

With golf legend Arnold Palmer in 2011
Photo by: GETTY IMAGES
2012
Acquires the Canadian Tour and rebrands it PGA Tour Canada.
Web.com signs a 10-year deal to assume title sponsorship of the PGA Tour’s development circuit. Nationwide had been title sponsor for more than nine years.
FedEx announces a five-year extension, through 2017, of its title sponsorship of the tour’s seasonlong points championship.
Finchem receives a contract extension through June 2016.


2013
The tour takes its digital rights in-house after not extending its deal with Turner Sports.
DirecTV signs a deal to provide expanded weekend coverage of four tournaments each season via the “PGA Tour Experience” channels. Terms are not released, but the agreement is extended in 2015 through 2019.
Canadian network TSN extends its TV rights agreement through 2018. The network will continue to broadcast nine tournaments a year, plus early-round coverage of the 2015 and 2017 Presidents Cup events. TSN also retains early-round coverage of the RBC Canadian Open.

With Tiger Woods after he won the 2013 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational
Photo by: GETTY IMAGES
2014
Sky Sports signs an extension of its broadcast deal for the U.K. and Ireland through 2021, retaining TV rights to all PGA Tour events, including the Presidents Cup.
Finchem earns $11.2 million in compensation, more than double the $4.8 million he made in 2013, largely because of a payout tied to a tour incentive plan.
Pubic filings reveal that the tour’s total sponsorship revenue climbs to $142 million in 2014 compared to $129 million in 2013, as the tour kept a full sponsor roster.

2015
The tour partners with MLB Advanced Media to create PGA Tour Live, a new OTT digital streaming video service.
SiriusXM Radio signs a three-year extension.

2016
The tour and the LPGA sign a strategic alliance that potentially could create a tournament with both PGA Tour and LPGA players competing in the same event.
Golf debuts as an Olympic sport in Rio for the first time since 1904, after years of lobbying by Finchem.

With Rory McIlroy after he won this year’s FedEx Cup, the 10th year of the PGA Tour’s playoffs
Photo by: GETTY IMAGES

Sources: SportsBusiness Journal research; Form 990s filed with the IRS