August 19, 2014
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
- PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem met with the media at Ridgewood Country Club on Tuesday. (Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
PARAMUS, N.J. -- On the eve of The Barclays, which kicks off the FedExCup Playoffs, PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem said he's pleased with how the season-long race has grown and prospered.
"It's pulled the TOUR together in real meaningful, year-long competition," he said. "The finishes have been really strong. So the performance of the tournaments with galleries in the markets we've played and on television has been very special."
So has seeing the FedExCup, which is now eight years old, become accepted by fans and players alike. Finchem said he knew the competition would need several years to establish itself.
"Candidly, it's moved a little faster than we thought it would," he said.
The unique nature of the Playoffs -- where a portion of the field is eliminated after each of the first three events -- was unlike anything golf had previously seen. But the players have embraced the competition, which offers a $10 million bonus to the winner.
"It's unique for them to be playing kind of two competitions at the same time, one for the tournament that week that has a certain impact of its own and then positioning for the eventual conclusion," Finchem said. "And the fans have reacted very positively."
Here's what the commissioner had to say on some other subjects:
On having a break in the FedExCup Playoffs, as will be the case in 2015 and '16: "The calendar varies from time to time. Every five years, there's one less week to deal with, so it's hard sometimes. But we would prefer to have a break week either after two or after three, either one. And we like the flow of it. We like the time to build up to it a little bit."
On whether the Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup might ever be combined into one event: "The Ryder Cup changed dramatically in the 70s and 80s when it went from the U.K. to U.K. and Europe. ... So the history of The Ryder Cup to this point and its current success would argue that you don't want to move away from the nationalistic aspect of The European Team, No. 1. And No. 2 I'm always of the view that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. And right now The Ryder Cup is doing phenomenally well from a balanced competitive standpoint, and The Presidents Cup in its short history is performing very well, too. ... So I think it's something you can always debate about. I always think debating these things and talking about it is healthy. But at least right now, I would say no, I wouldn't go down that path."
On potential changes to major medical extensions: "Well, currently, there is more flexibility than perhaps we should have in terms of being able to carry over the time. We think that at some point it probably becomes the rub of the green; if you get hurt, we don't think regulation was intended that five years later, you can get better and then you wait a couple years and you're not required to come back. So expediting that would reduce that category a little bit and we'll continue to look at it as we go forward."
On measures under consideration to improve PGA TOUR access for Web.com Tour grads: "We're adding a new tournament in Alabama. ... We're looking at one more. We are looking at that career category not with the idea of changing it, but we are pretty sure it's going to cool back down a little bit, which won't have as negative an impact as it had in the last year. We're just looking at a variety of things. ... So it's probably a two-year review of all these things to see where we're going to go."
Tim Finchem comments before The Barclays