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"The idea that we would pressure him to play is ludicrous."

It's not really newsworthy that Tim Finchem went on CNBC this morning to talk business and golf, but that he was asked about the suggestion that the tour encouraged/pressured Tiger to show up. Finchem was apparently not pleased that the insinuation that was made on CNBC sister network Golf Channel Thursday, so miracle of all miracles, the Commissioner was asked about it off the top of the interview:

It's always important for Tiger to be part of the tour, because he's Tiger Woods. But the idea that we would pressure him to play is ludicrous. 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. I was on the range with him tuesday, I watched him hit balls. He practiced that day, he practiced wednesday hard. And he tweaked it yesterday. So, nonissue.

Thanks to reader Jim for the video tip...

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Reader Comments (32)

I would tend to agree with Finchem. I heard some comments yesterday that with Westwood and Rory not in the field, the tour was desperate for Tiger to play. I don't see that. Those guys not being there is really playing more as a silly decision on their part (especially with Rory tweeting pictures of himself out drinking with his buddies) than taking away from the tournament.

For Feinstein to say that on the Golf Channel yesterday, I thought he must have some sources behind it and maybe he does but I don't see the tour pressuring Tiger to play especially knowing he would likley struggle as he did not having hit a ball since the Masters.
05.13.2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarkMark
Now we can call him just "Touchy Tim" instead of "Touchy Feely Tim" !
one thing I was curious about is whether is starting to hear the voices of the media and fans in wanting him to play more. he recently responded to a question on Twitter about why he doesn't play more. I doubt the Tour encouraged him to play, but I wouldn't be surprised if he felt pressured to by the fans and media. awhile back people said he should play more to get the reps, now after the WD, it's "why did he even play?"
05.13.2011 | Unregistered CommenterToddH
Tiger does only what he pleases. Anyone who thinks that Tiger would play (or could be pressured to play) a tournament to benefit the PGA Tour hasn't been paying attention.
05.13.2011 | Unregistered CommenterDan
I would not blame him if he did. It doesnt look like many people are there watching the play. I dont know if that is true in person, but any reports on attendance?

A Thursday at the fifth major looked like a Sunday at a LPGA event.
05.13.2011 | Unregistered CommenterCheeks
could any of his contracts specify that he must play certain tour events - or a specific number of tour events?
05.13.2011 | Unregistered CommenterPetrillo
What @Dan said.
05.13.2011 | Unregistered Commentermel
I thought Ludicrous was a rapper!
05.13.2011 | Unregistered CommenterHefe
First of all, I don't know when the term "Reps" made it into the golf lexicon, but it needs to disappear FAST.

Lee and Rory not playing may look silly to some, but that doesn't change the fact that the tourney is boring with a capital B. I DVR'd it and fast forwarded to all of Phil Mickelson's shots and some of McDowel's shots, then I deleted it and watched something else. I am not the least bit interested in what 90% of the players are doing. If the leader-board on Sunday looks like Amateur hour or Q-school, I won't even watch it.

The US tour has some very very big problems.
05.13.2011 | Unregistered CommenterPress Agent
"The US tour has some very very big problems"

Compared to What? Compared to When? I asume the answer to these questions is the same as a five letter word for an orange and black, four-legged mammel.
05.13.2011 | Unregistered Commenter7.0
Old quote: "But the idea that we WOULD pressure him to play is ludicrous. "

Correct quote: "But the idea that we COULD pressure him to play is ludicrous."

In the relationship between Little Timmy and Tiger, I think they both know who is the puppet, and who is the puppeteer. Like it or not, the tour cannot force Tiger to do diddly-squat he doesn't want to do. Like Dan said.
05.13.2011 | Unregistered CommenterRickABQ
Looks like the pipsqueak reporter Darren Rovell at it again, acting as mouthpiece for management!! What significant story has this phony ever broken?
05.13.2011 | Unregistered CommenterMedia driven

When people would rather watch the high-def channel of paint drying provided by their cable companies than the 5th major, you've got problems.

When the ratings are going down faster than a average looking Perkins waitress, you've got problems.

When a tour puts all it eggs in one basket for a decade and then finds itself scrambling to figure out what happened when that basket turns out to be leaky, you've got problems.

Too many people, were far too lazy, for far too long and counted far too much on one player. Now they will suffer the consequences.
05.13.2011 | Unregistered CommenterPress Agent
In which baskets should the Tour have put its eggs? There were no other baskets and there still are not.
05.13.2011 | Unregistered CommenterBuffett
Life without Tiger will mean the tour will go back to it ways pre 1996. What's so wrong with that? Tiger elevated the game to casual fans who only care about him and lots of people benefited. If he's gone, they're gone and the Tour is back to where it was, big deal.

Who can blame the Tour for milking Tiger? As Buffett says who or what else could the have done?
05.13.2011 | Unregistered CommenterJordan J.Caron
rovell drives me nuts
05.13.2011 | Unregistered Commenterjimbob
Press missed some good golf if all you watched is Phil and GMac on DVR....and last week at Quail Hollow was pretty solid golf viewing without Phil, Gmac or Tiger in sight.

As far as the US tour being in trouble...compared to what? TV ratings happen to be up this year overall but even if they were not,so what. Europeans clearly have more top players right now but even so, they are all playing the US tour. Even with Rory and Westwood playing their little games this week, they will still play 10-11 times in the US while the rest of the Euro stars like Gmac, Poulter, etc, live and play here full time.

What golf tournaments besides the majors do you enjoy watching?
05.13.2011 | Unregistered CommenterMark
I don't really get the whole conversation of what is good and bad for the tour, or good and bad for golf.

Golf is not a business; it's a game. As a game, its popularity will forever be limited by the fact that it is a difficult game to play, it's expensive, and it takes a long time.

Of course it's also a lucrative profession for those who are very good at it. Periodically stars like Nicklaus, Palmer, Norman and Woods have pumped up public interest in golf on TV, which in turn has made the game more lucrative for PGA pros, which in turn makes the idea of become a pro golfer attractive to kids like Ricky Fowler. None of that has changed or is changing.

Let's say the PGA tour gets a succession of really boring champions in majors, and ratings dip sharply, and the next big tv contract isn't so good, and purses stay flat or even get lower. I doubt it will happen, but if it does, does that really matter to anyone? The winner of the Players will be just as happy with $1.55 million as he would be with $1.7 million. Do you really care that much?

Golf is fine. The Masters was outstanding drama and many of the major players were not household names and may never be.
05.13.2011 | Unregistered CommenterSqueaky

Your arguments are analogous to those elitists who watch the Sundance Channel because they want to watch "films" and not movies.

Well you can't base an industry on boring "films" which no one watches, even if they might be cinematic "art", worthy of aesthetic appreciation.

People want blockbusters and movie STARS and glamour....I think that is the gist of the remarks above about the tour being in decline.

Your pastoral Panglossian chant of "golf is fine" is ostrich in the sand fantasy. The comments of the tour being boring are right on the mark.

The dramatics in the last couple of years have been the Watson Open near miss, Phil"s Masters. Can anyone remember one shot made by Louis Oosthuizen or Lucas Glover in their major wins?

I rest my case.

The tour is boring now, played by obsequious mass produced, phlegmatic robots with zero personality.

And to think we even have to have this "golf is fine" debate in the week following Seve's untimely demise.
05.13.2011 | Unregistered CommenterBrad Hamilton
Hurray Squeaky! Agree with everything you say.

I would add that the pros will play any course in any condition for the $1.5M. The biggest waste of time is the inevitable discussion about the architechture of the course and, worse, the set-up. One foot rough? No rough? Fast greens? Slow greens? Doesn't matter. They all play the same course and lowest score still wins.
05.13.2011 | Unregistered Commenter7.0
Brad, people have been complaining about boring golfers since Young Tom drank himself to death.
05.13.2011 | Unregistered Commenter7.0
Why was Tim on the range with Tiger?
To say that they don't ever try to get pros to play certain events is silly.
They have policies and the player board members - both certainly suggest where to play.
05.13.2011 | Unregistered CommenterDr. Drew
Tiger may be going all John Daly on us. Some bad holes & walk off....
05.13.2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarge Geneverra
@Brad -- I don't think of golf as an "industry" and I don't think it's analogous to movies. Warner Brothers might quit making movies and become a video game company. Warner Brothers is part of a business with shareholders. Its job is to go where the money and the eyeballs are. Golf is not a business. It doesn't sell a product, it doesnt have shareholders, it doesn't have to change. Its popularity will rise and fall, but there will be a U.S. Open every year, the rough will be deep, par will be a good score, someone will win, and I'll watch.

If the winner is a boring guy with a robotic swing who speaks broken English and doesn't get a nickel in endorsement deals, it doesn't really matter, does it? What matters is whether he can advance his ball from the deep rough, and whether he can two-putt from above the hole on 18 with the tournament on the line.

And if the TV ratings go down? Um, who cares? Wait, I know, Tim Finchem and Darren Rovell on CNBC, they care.
05.13.2011 | Unregistered CommenterSqueaky
Another tour de force, Squeak.
No matter who wins or how many people watch, my foursome will play every Saturday and my wife, son and I will take two or three golf trips each year. Kiawah last week, the Ocean Course is all they say it is.

Oh and we have a ten day trip to Scotland this summer. We will go no matter who wins the US open or how low the TV ratings are.
05.13.2011 | Unregistered Commenter7.0
@7.0: Young Tom died of congestive heart failure not acute alcoholism. BTW, if you ever see any four-legged "mammel" immediately text "National Geographic." You will be handsomely rewarded for your discovery of an hitherto unknown species.
05.13.2011 | Unregistered Commenterloops
I think Squeaky and 7.0 are on to something real. I've never played as many rounds, or followed the sport as closely, as I have in the last couple of years. The game is a significant part of my life, and I've never spent so much of my time or cash on it. And my 22 year old plays as well! I frankly wouldn't know the game was hurting so badly if I hadn't read it here. As for all the course closings, who didn't see that coming? I recall asking developers in the '90s how they could sustain the level of growth at that time, a time when we were looking for a second club. Never got a satisfactory answer, so never invested. Now we just travel to great golf areas and golf courses and spread our limited golf cash around. Funny, but there are always plenty of others playing the game wherever we go. In short, this great game never looked better from where we sit. (And before you call me "elitist", I play munis, too, such as Sharp Park and Northwoods, regularly, and love them.)
05.13.2011 | Unregistered Commenterpasaplayer

From the UK Guardian book review of a YTM bio:

"Through a combination of ill health and unhappiness, he began drinking heavily. Extravagant statements since claim that he drank himself into an early grave, but there is no evidence that drink played any part in what was to follow.

Tommy was reported to have become "seriously unwell" in October, though the nature of his illness is unknown. He died on Christmas Day, 1875. The available evidence suggests that he died from some cardiovascular disaster, probably a ruptured aneurysm of one of the main arteries at the back of his chest. He was 24 years old."

I think we can safely read between the lines here, can't we? Besides, if YTM was anything like my Scottish forebears, he absolutely died of drink. I think drink, food poisoning and sheep rustling are the only causes of death in Scotland.

You are correct about the mammel, I didn't want to make it too easy to identify Tiger by saying "feline"
05.13.2011 | Unregistered Commenter7.0
How does the little commish keep his hair so youthful? Only his hairdresser knows for sure!!
05.13.2011 | Unregistered CommenterMedia driven
"Tiger doesn't enter a tournament unless he thinks he can win." - It`s a great pity, what happens these days with Tiger, but he can`t really be convinced, that he can win all the tournaments, he`s playing...
05.14.2011 | Unregistered CommenterMike
TV golf when Tiger is not playing is mostly boring.

Watching phoney Phil just doesn't cut it.
05.14.2011 | Unregistered CommenterMr. proper
"phoney Phil" How do you know?
05.14.2011 | Unregistered CommenterBuffett

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