John Paul Newport landed a lengthy sit down with Commissioner Tim Finchem and lived to write about it. Considering it was the WSJ, I figured we'd get at least one nice bit of jargon, but instead we just got a nice jab at the LPGA. Or at least, a jab in Finchemspeak, which is merely a long, tortured sentence.
Thus far, Mr. Finchem said, the Tour's global nature has not dimmed American interest. Most of its international players come from countries where English is either the native language or widely spoken. Many played college golf in the States and a quite a few, like Ernie Els and Camilo Villegas, have become immensely popular in the States. "We don't seem to be headed the way of men's tennis, as an example, or perhaps the LPGA Tour where, on the leader boards, you are sometimes lacking in American presence. In the long term, that could deteriorate, however, so it's something we think about," he said.
And I do like this acknowledgement of keeping the tour "open," now if we could just make sure it also means not taking spots away from Q-school.
As for another oft-mentioned possible threat to the Tour—the emergence of a some kind of global super-tour that would cherry pick the top players by offering huge appearance fees—Mr. Finchem claimed not to be concerned. "From a marketing standpoint, having the top 30 or 50 players in the world run off and play against each other is very questionable," he said. "The whole idea of open competition resonates with fans. They want somebody like Rickie Fowler to be able to come out of college and compete against the best. And as we've seen recently with Tiger's game, there's a fine line between playing at the top, even dominating, and being in the middle of the pack."