John Huggan tries to understand Tim Finchem's buckets and mostly lets Peter Alliss consider the impact of the FedEx Cup on European golf:
While it is easy to make fun of the verbally-manipulative Finchem, the danger he presents to golf in the wider sense should not be underestimated. He thinks "outward looking" means anywhere inside the US. Hence his utter indifference when it was pointed out to him the damage the Fed-Ex Cup would almost certainly do to, for example, a suddenly star-starved European Tour.And...
"This so-called special relationship between Great Britain and the United States in all things doesn't seem to exist in golf," says BBC commentator Peter Alliss. "As much a politician as Tim Finchem is, I'm not sure he really cares about the European Tour. If we went under, I'm not sure it would register on his radar. He's always squeezing dates. The Ryder Cup is moving farther and farther back. All it will take is a bit of mist in the morning, and they won't get the next couple played in three days.
"He doesn't really seem to care. He's always going on about playing against the rest of the world, but only on his own terms. I remember when Greg Norman was going to start a so-called world tour. Finchem killed that, then virtually copied what Greg was proposing.
"I'm concerned that, if you were in a sinking ship with Finchem and there was only one lifeboat, you wouldn't get that lifeboat. He'd have it, and you'd go down with the ship. I really don't think he gives a shit. He'd be very apologetic, but at the end of the day he'd be looking after his own."
"The US Tour is a bit like going to see The Mousetrap every week, and going across the road from the theatre to eat the same meal," Alliss, a former Ryder Cup player, observes. "No matter how good the play is or the food is, you soon get bored with it. I know the counter-argument is that Finchem is not obliged to look at the bigger picture: he is employed solely to make money for his members, something he does very well. Look at the bonus system they have for making cuts. If Tiger were to retire when he is 40, he'd get some ridiculous sum of money.
"But for Finchem, the state of the game is neither here nor there. He is responsible for providing tournaments for his members to play in. I didn't think he could continue to find sponsors willing to put up a $1m first prize every week, but he has."
What has also boosted sympathy for Finchem's latest cause is the whining from players, most notably Mickelson, whenever the unavailability of the Fed-Ex prize-money is mentioned. The pampered souls will receive the cash only when they reach the age of 45.
"Professional golf has come so far in a relatively short period of time that I wonder how much longer it can go on and on," says Alliss. "The reaction of some of the players worries me. I never thought I would say there is too much money in professional golf. But I'm beginning to think there is. The top players are seemingly not tempted by anything. The Fed-Ex is worth $10m, and it can't get them to play every week. Money just does not stir them."