Money good for PGA despite hurt Tiger, no Rory | Inquirer Sports

Money good for PGA despite hurt Tiger, no Rory

/ 08:47 AM June 30, 2011

NEWTOWN SQUARE – Economic issues are going well for the US PGA, tour commissioner Tim Finchem said Wednesday, even with Tiger Woods injured, and top-ranked European stars skipping most US events.

Finchem cited a new sponsor deal for the Heritage and a renewal for the Barclays as positive signs as television contract renewals loom on the horizon.

“The economy still is in a very iffy posture but certainly we feel like the base has now been laid so that we can look out five or six years with a lot of positive anticipation,” Finchem said.

“We’re really pleased with the momentum we’ve had.


“If you look back three years with the economic crisis that occurred, we all were concerned about the extent to which we could go into that and hopefully come out of it stronger… and it would appear that that has been the case.”

The business commitments come even with 14-time major champion Woods having gone winless for 20 months since the outbreak of his infamous sex scandal and having played only nine holes since the Masters due to a left knee injury.

“Every time he misses the opportunity to win a major championship, it’s not a plus,” Finchem said. “Whether overall he has an opportunity, I think it depends on (health).

“I’m not worried at all about his motivation or his work ethic. Those are given. But his physical ability to play obviously is a factor. He feels pretty confident that’s going to be handled, but we’ll just have to wait and see.”


Woods said on Tuesday he thinks he still has a chance to pass the all-time record of 18 majors won by Jack Nicklaus.

With 71 US PGA titles, Woods is also chasing the all-time record of 82 won by Sam Snead. Woods ranks third on that list now, also trailing Nicklaus on 73.


“I think of Jack’s record as really important, but I also think Snead’s record is important,” Finchem said.

“I told Tiger on multiple occasions, ‘You have got to win more tournaments to get to Snead’s record and I want you to be thinking about winning more tournaments, not just four or five, because that means you’ll play longer.’

“I don’t know. We’ll just have to see what happens.”

Also missing from US PGA events these days are the world’s top-ranked stars such as No. 2 Lee Westwood of England and No. 3 Rory McIlroy, the 22-year-old from Northern Ireland whose US Open victory two weeks ago made him the new face of golf for the casual follower.

“To watch him on Sunday walking around with him, he was very loose, he was very relaxed, he was smiling and laughing and enjoying it like he’s 16 years old,” Finchem said. “I mean, it’s just great to watch. It’s terrific for golf.”

It’s more terrific for the European Tour where McIlroy spends much of his time. Some top players elect to stay in Europe in part because they do not want to play the minimum number of events to keep US tour rights.

Asked about the possibility of a rule change to allow top-10 players to pick and choose US events with no minimum, Finchem said, “It’s certainly a possibility. I wouldn’t say it’s the first thing on our agenda.”

He also said that the system is not in place, in part, to ensure strong tours worldwide.

“We have to keep in mind why the strength of the other tours is important, certainly why the growth of the game globally is important, particularly as we enter into the Olympic era for golf,” Finchem said.

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“We’re quite successful with the international mix of players we have.”

TAGS: business, Golf, Marketing, Media, Rory McIlroy, Sports, Tiger Woods, United States

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