Talk About Awkward...

...did you catch the Tour Championship interview of Tim Finchem?

This contractually obligated torture session pits ABC's ESPN on ABC's outgoing announcers with Finchem, who seems to have grown more reticent each year. He struggles to make eye contact and apparently is unable to show any genuine pleasure. (At least for his $10 million a year, the NBA's David Stern tries to crack a joke now and then, and this is a man who told SI's Jack McCallum in the Nov. 6 issue that he wishes he could ban his players from carrying guns...and he's not joking).

So here I was thinking that maybe, just maybe that lame duck ABC ESPN on ABC and loose cannons Faldo and Azinger, we'd actually get a spirited exchange.

After Finchem thanked ABC for "years and years of commitment to communicating the sport so well" and noting that the "production quality has always been superb," you could hear people turning channel Finchem noted that he was excited about the continued relationship with ESPN. Whatever that's about? (Probably the Tour paying ESPN to do "Sportscenter from the Players Championship" or some such thing.)

Azinger then selfishly asked about the schedule in 2008, with 7 of last 8 weeks before Ryder Cup involving the "playoffs."

"Well, we have a one-off," was Finchem's answer before shooting down Azinger's assertion that the situation was in any way messy.

Faldo then tried to make a joke about receiving the Commissioner's annual wine selection, an apparent holiday gift that Finchem naturally pounced on to plug of the tour's wine label (boy we're really reaching the 18-34 y.o.'s now!). Then Faldo asked about getting more WGC's played in International locations, which set Finchem up for some silly assertion that China could grow to 200 million golfers if it keeps on Japan's pace.

So here ABC ESPN on ABC has a chance to ask a tough question and they lob him two that have been asked repeatedly in press conferences this year.

Rivetting television. Actually, I got a big chuckle out of the tension and awkward nature of the whole thing, so it was good for something.