PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem on Friday denied a report that the TOUR pressured Tiger Woods into playing THE PLAYERS Championship. Woods withdrew from the tournament after nine holes in Thursday's first round with knee and Achilles tendon problems that have plagued him since the Masters.
"It's always important for Tiger to be a part of the TOUR, because he's Tiger Woods, but the idea that we would pressure him to play is ludicrous," Finchem told CNBC's Darren Rovell. "We don't pressure any player to play the tournament. In this case, the suggestion is somehow he was hurt and we got him to play anyway. Tiger doesn't enter a tournament unless he thinks he can win."
The commissioner said he is not worried about Woods' status as it pertains to the TOUR.
"You know, I hope he's healthy enough to play," Finchem said. "Just look at it from the health of the TOUR standpoint. If he's an active player it helps us out a lot. ... He doesn't have to come back and dominate like he did. He needs to play.
"My concern is, where are his injuries going to go? And he doesn't know what the answer will be and we won't know for a while."
Asked by Rovell about the TOUR's TV ratings being up 29 percent on weekend telecasts through April, Finchem said: "It's a focus on young players and I think its also a combination. Tiger has played some this year and a question and interested if he's coming back. Phil (Mickelson) is a major impactor."