ATLANTA – Tim Finchem is having a little case of déjà vu these days.
When the current commissioner first started working with the PGA Tour in 1986, Jack Nicklaus was on the decline and a perpetual refrain sounded questioning how he could be replaced.
“From 1988 to 1996, after I became commissioner, in particular … every one of those years the PGA Tour grew, and virtually all of our tournaments grew,” he recalled. “Then we got Tiger Woods, and by 1998, 1999 he was definitely a dominant player.”
Finchem is now receiving similar questions about Woods – and answering them based on what history has already shown.
“Lately with Tiger being injured more often the last three, four years, I'm getting the question again the other way: ‘OK, when Tiger's gone, how do you manage the sport?’ Well, fans like golf. They like to watch golf. They like to watch some players more than others, there's no question about that. And I think Tiger's got a long shelf life in terms of being a contributor because people like watching him play golf regardless of the records - even though the records are of keen interest to fans also.
“So I don't think you'll see a lot changing in the short term. But when it does, when he passes by, we will have other players, [like] Rory McIlroy.”