By PGATOUR.COM staff
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Some highlights from PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem's news conference on Tuesday:
WORLD GOLF HALL OF FAME. The commissioner said that the Hall of Fame board is evaluating whether having the Induction Ceremony the Monday of THE PLAYERS Championship is the best approach. He said the golf interest "is kind of split" when the ceremony is scheduled near a big event. "We're going to look at everything and have more to say about it probably later this year," he said.
Likewise, Finchem said the qualifications and categories will undergo a process review. "I wouldn't sit here and speculate to changing things," he said, "but I would say we're open to changing a number of things and we'll see what develops."
TV VIEWERS' INVOLVEMENT IN RULINGS. The commissioner said he goes "back and forth" on whether it's a good thing that TV viewers can call tournament officials when they see possible rules violations, as was the case with Tiger Woods at the Masters.
"On the one hand, it's a pain," Finchem said. "On the other hand, it's interesting. ... I do think it's good that it's become a matter of a lot of discussion, and I think that's healthy."
$2 BILLION CAMPAIGN. The commissioner said that this Sunday, the TOUR will begin its campaign to reach $2 billion in charitable contributions. He said the TOUR is at $1.86 billion to date and hopes to reach $2 billion by the end of this year or early next year.
"When I say campaign, the money isn't really the story," Finchem said. "It's the people that our tournaments impact, the lives that are changed, the charities that are helped. However, people pay attention to money."
ANCHORED PUTTING. Having announced the TOUR's stance to oppose the proposed anchored putting ban, the commissioner said the TOUR is now simply waiting for the USGA and the R&A to complete their process on whether to move forward with the ban.
"Then we'll turn around and have a conversation with our players and our board about the position we should take at that point," Finchem said. "Until we get there, we're not going to speculate on it."
BLOOD TESTING. The commissioner said the TOUR will continue to evaluate whether to add blood testing to its anti-doping program.
"We find it difficult to assume that whatever advantage EPO provides a PGA TOUR player, which we don't see much of, is worth going through blood transfusions," he said. "However, we're still monitoring it anyway, and we could still go to a blood test for that reason only."
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
LA JOLLA, Calif. -- PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem spent the bulk of his press conference on Wednesday at the Farmers Insurance Open discussing the ban on anchored strokes proposed by the USGA and R&A.
Finchem was in California to attend Tuesday night's mandatory player meeting where Mike Davis, the executive director of the USGA, talked about the proposed new rule. According to the commissioner, the meeting was the beginning of a process where the TOUR will collect input and with consideration from the policy board, formulate a response.
Here are some highlights of the press conference.
On whether there are scenarios where the TOUR would not adopt the rule: "Technically there is that possibility. However, it certainly wouldn't be our objective. Our objective is to follow the rules and keep the rules together."
On the need to proceed cautiously: "If the governing bodies had said in 1965, like they did after Sam Snead came out and putted croquet style and a week later they changed the rule or whatever it was, if they had said, you know, this isn't consistent with historically the way you swing a club, so we're not going to allow it, nobody would have blinked an eye. ... But 40 years later, and the amount of play there is with that method, amateur and professional, it does affect a lot of people. So it's a very different kind of issue, and it stirs a lot of strong feelings. So consequently, it's a difficult situation.'
On whether the TOUR might implement the ban sooner than the proposed target of 2016: "Once you get past the question of the rule change, there is going to be a rule change; then you get into some of the details. One of which is the timing, and that's certainly a matter of discussion because, here again, on the one hand, if you're presenting the sport, you probably, my view would be to move it quicker, if it's going to happen because it continues to be a distraction if you don't. You have players on television, in front of galleries, playing with a method that has been outlawed, even though the enforcement date is later. That's in and of itself the makings of a distraction. On the other hand, if you're a player who has grown up using that method, your livelihood depends on it, you probably are inclined to not want it to go into effect for a period of time. Here again, the issue is damned if you do, damned if you don't to some extent, so it needs to be thought through carefully."
On whether there is data to suggest anchored strokes provide a competitive advantage: "Virtually every player on the PGA TOUR at some point has spent time with anchoring method. Some of them practice with anchoring method because it helps their stroke. They will tell you, it is a skill in of itself as putting as a whole. It's a different game. We all know there are two games in golf, full swing and putting. That within putting, anchoring, the anchoring method is a skill unto itself. It takes time, energy, effort, over a long period of time to develop that skill. But it doesn't necessarily give you a competitive advantage against the player who isn't using the method."
On potential lawsuits over the ban: "I haven't heard any specifics about any particular player or conceivably, I suppose, a manufacturer filing lawsuit, and I don't really worry about that kind of stuff. Lawsuits come and go and you have to deal with them, and they're painful and expensive, but I just don't know about that. I think we're early in the process though, so, that could change."
PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem talks about the FedExCup Playoffs.
All times Eastern.
Tuesday, Sept. 18
11 a.m. -- Jim Furyk (No. 18)
1 p.m. -- 2012 Payne Stewart Award winner revealed
Wednesday, Sept. 19
Tiger Woods (No. 2) – Following morning sponsor breakfast
Rory McIlroy (No. 1) – Following morning sponsor breakfast
10 a.m. – Nick Watney (No. 3)
11:15 a.m. – John Huh (No. 26)
1 p.m. – Luke Donald (No. 15)
2:30 p.m. – PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem
Phil Mickelson (No. 4)
Brandt Snedeker (No. 5)
Steven Gribin from SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio visits with PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem to discuss the year in golf, upcoming changes to PGATOUR.COM, the work of The First Tee and the Web.com Tour.
Commissioner Tim Finchem said this week there will be no changes to the PGA TOUR's on-course phone policy for fans.
“We’re committed to making it work,” Finchem told Bloomberg News while playing in a pro-am round at the Champions Tour’s Regions Tradition event in Birmingham, Ala. “If we get to a point where we don't have an acceptable competitive environment, we’ll do whatever we need to do, but I don’t see that happening.”
In 2011, the TOUR began allowing fans to bring cell phones to tournaments, designating areas away from play where the phones could be used but also reminding fans that they should not be used closer to the action. In addition, phones should be on vibrate or silent at all times.
“We know, by virtue of the fact that we don’t get many ringers, that the vast majority of fans will use good etiquette,” Finchem told Bloomberg News. “We have to be aggressive to some extent when the policy is violated.”
The commissioner is hoping that fans will adhere to the rules about cell phones.
“It is incumbent upon the fans to help us out here so we can maintain this policy and make the experience very positive,” he told Bloomberg News. “Being able to keep their phones with them is part of that.”
CELL PHONE GUIDELINES
If you bring a cell phone to a PGA TOUR event, please follow these guidelines:
> Ringers must be in silent mode at all times
> Calls can be made and received only in designated areas
> Receiving and sending text messages is permitted on the course, away from play
> NO video recording is permitted anywhere, any time
> Photos may NOT be taken during competition rounds
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem held his annual press conference Wednesday prior to the start of THE PLAYERS Championship. Here are a few of his answers to reporters’ questions:
ON THE POSSIBILITY OF A THREE-HOLE PLAYOFF INSTEAD OF A SUDDEN-DEATH PLAYOFF STARTING AT THE 17TH HOLE ...
"It's a matter of regular discussion and we continue to look at it," Finchem said. "I think we determined right now that we would go ahead through this year with our current television agreements. There are a lot of obstacles to moving that direction. There are pluses and minuses, but it will probably be something we spend a little bit more time on as we get into the middle part of this year.
"But last year we talked about it some, and we'll be talking about it again this year. It's something that's interesting to us, but we have not yet determined it's something that we should necessarily do. If you ask 10 people, probably five would say, if you're going to have a playoff, sudden death on the 17th hole is tough to beat. Others would argue that you keep the suspense going in an aggregate, multi-hole situation.
"Then you take either one of those courses and start to apply it to air times and darkness and whatever; it's not a situation where there's a right or wrong answer, so we'll continue to think about it."
ON THE ITEMS STILL TO BE DETERMINED PRIOR TO QUALIFYING AND SCHEDULE CHANGES IN 2013 ...
"There's really only two things that are hanging out there," Finchem said. "One is, now that all tournaments will be part of the FedExCup, how many points do they receive relative to other tournaments. And the second is, in the qualification, we know that the top 75 off the Nationwide are going to go into those three final events, and we know when they go there, they are going to be joined by the 126 to 200 off the PGA TOUR. That's going to happen. And then there's going to be three finals, and then there's going to be 50 cards awarded.
"The question is, when those two groups come together, do you weight them in some fashion; do you seed them in some fashion? And the details of that are what's left to be ironed out by the June meeting. But that's pretty much it."
ON THE TOUR'S VIEW OF AUGUSTA NATIONAL'S MEMBERSHIP POLICY ...
"I think the position of the PGA TOUR hasn't changed," Finchem said. "We have a policy that says that when we go out and do a co-sanctioned event, we are going to play it at a club that is as open to women members, open to minority members, etc., and we follow that policy carefully.
"In the case of the Masters, we have concluded a number of times now, and we have certainly not moved off of this; that we are not going to give up the Masters as a tournament on our TOUR. It's too important. And so at the end of the day, the membership of that club have to determine their membership. They are not doing anything illegal.
"But we just elect to continue to recognize them as an official money event on the PGA TOUR because we think it's that important to golf, so we don't get to determining whether their policies are right or wrong, because we don't have to, because we made the conclusion that regardless of those policies, we are going to continue to play and recognize them as part of the PGA TOUR.
"I know some people don't like that position, and I appreciate that and I understand their reasoning, but that's the decision we've made."
ON PGA TOUR'S APPROACH TO SPEEDING UP PLAY …
"Anything we can do from a communications standpoint to encourage people playing faster, we will do," Finchem said. "But clubs have got to take the initiative to drive play, and the average player has got to take the initiative and say, guys, let's go out here and play in three hours and 45 minutes, and that doesn't happen too many places.
"... If I'm watching a PGA TOUR player, and I'm going to go through the same pre-shot routine that that player takes, and he's hitting it 69 times and I'm hitting it 93, I'm going to be playing a lot longer than that guy. So it's a different game from that perspective. And if you notice our players, they move; they don't want to be on the clock. They hit a shot and they move. But there are different variables out here at this level and we measure it pretty carefully.
"One thing we are sensitive to is a player who is slow and as such impacts his fellow competitor, which is a different thing from how long it takes to play. That results in some counseling, and we have had good success with counseling. But I don't think PGA TOUR golf is the culprit here. I think the culprit is taking steps to drive the pace of play for the average player, and if we can be helpful in that regard, we're open to it."
KAPALUA, Hawaii -- PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem said Sunday that he expects the Plantation Course at Kapalua to remain the host course for the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.
"I think everything is in good shape here," Finchem said.
Although several of last year's winners are not in this week's field, Finchem said factors ranging from injuries to family obligations to a late European Tour season were the reasons for their absences. He doesn't agree that moving the tournament to the West Coast would entice more eligible players to participate.
"Of the 10 or 11 players ... five of them were not able to play because they had a baby or they got hurt, so they are not going to play," Finchem said. "And to a European player who has played deep, deep into November and December, can make the trip, it's not much difference to come from Europe. So I don't see that as a significant factor."
The commissioner did say the structure of the tournament will be evaluated after this week in case there are any opportunities to get more players involved. But he stressed that he wouldn't want to assume that changes will be made.
"It may be that we want to tinker with the structure of the tournament, and we'll look at that," he said.
Overall, though, he is pleased with the tournament, calling the season opener "a pretty special week at a pretty special place."
"I know Hyundai is very pleased as a sponsor at this point," he said. "I think the telecast is superb, and most of the players that the fans are interested in, the young players coming up, are here."
And as far as having Hawaii as the backdrop?
"Visually this combination of HD television and now the aerial support that they have from a photography standpoint may be creating the best visual week that we have on the TOUR," Finchem said. "It's really quite spectacular."