Finchem gets 4-year extension

2012-01-12 11:40
Tim Finchem (Gallo Images)
Honolulu - PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem received a four-year contract extension on Wednesday, keeping him in charge of golf's biggest tour until 2016.

He suggested last year that he might be willing to stay on the job after his contract expired in June 2012, and Finchem said he made up his mind after talking to his wife. Their youngest daughter starts college next year.

The 64-year-old Finchem also wanted to get through the most recent television contract, an unprecedented nine-year deal with NBC Sports and CBS Sports.

"It was a no-brainer decision," Finchem said. "It's what I do. Plus, we got done with TV. And with a runway for 10 years, I figured we could do some good stuff long term. I'm as optimistic as I've ever been.

Finchem was appointed commissioner in 1994. By staying on through 2016, he would be the longest-serving commissioner of the three that have served since the PGA Tour broke away from the PGA of America in 1969.

There probably won't be another extension. When told he would be 69 when the new contract is over, Finchem pointed out that 77-year-old Bud Selig just signed on for two more years as commissioner of Major League Baseball; and that Ronald Reagan was 70 when he was elected president, serving two terms.

"I never rule out any possibilities," he said. "But the likelihood is this will probably be it for me. There's other things I want to do."

Among other things, Finchem had to respond to Greg Norman's proposed world tour in 1994, coming up with the World Golf Championships that began in 1999. There was a small attempt at starting a players' union that also was thwarted.

Even so, nothing topped the last three years - a downturn in the economy that put tour sponsorship in doubt, and the downfall of Tiger Woods, though a scandal and leg injuries, which kept him out of the game for two long stretches.

Finchem described it "the most trying period."

"It was a combination of things," he said. "It wasn't just a downturn; we had bankruptcies going on. This plays into TV. We had the No. 1 player not playing a lot. That plays into television. There was an extra level of concern. It wasn't a big downer. It was just hard work."


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