Finchem Says Senior Outlook Rosy But Problems Persist


PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem painted a bright picture during an appearance at the Senior Tour Championship Wednesday. Among the brightest prospects are the incoming Senior Tour players and the group that is about to follow.
I feel very good in my talks with younger guys about their plans to play the Senior Tour, Finchem said.
I often get asked the question about players making so much money on the PGA Tour that they wont want to play on the Senior Tour. I dont sense any of that. These players love the competition, and they just cant get this kind of competition at home. Theyve played on good golf courses against the best players in the world. Thats still there and its going to continue.
There are problems, however. One of the biggest concerns is one of golfs biggest strengths ' a certain Mr. Tiger Woods and the widespread attention that he commands. Thats not always good for the Senior Tour.
In terms of what Im concerned about, its a phenomena thats across the face of golf: that is, what happens if Tiger Woods isnt playing in your tournament, said Finchem. Tiger for the last three years has drawn so much focus and attention from the media ' and the fans, but the media really filters what goes to the fans ' that its hard to compete sometimes. The PGA feels that, the Senior Tour feels that, and to some extent the PGA Tour feels that. That presents us with a real challenge, and we need to work harder on that.
Of coure, Finchem is concerned about getting the word out about his own Senior Tour players. Some, such as leading money-winner Allen Doyle, played only sparingly on the Senior Tour. Doyle is not well-known to the average golf fan, but if the Senior Tour does a proper job, Doyle and others like him will become better-known.
Our job, when we have players who didnt play the PGA Tour but are playing great at this level, we have to do a better job of telling our fan base about them and how good they are, he said.
And dont expect that this tour is a static tour, Finchem said. He and others in charge are taking a long, hard look at the tour, and considering lots of options to the status quo.
Weve assimilated a lot of information over the last couple of years. We are looking at this period as a transition period which started about three years ago. The PGA Tour went through this same thing about 10 years ago, the lack of a single dominant player. The same thing applies to this tour now, the transition that has occurred, said Finchem.
We know the fundamentals of this tour are strong, we have the sponsor base, we know the tournaments are strong. We have to get some consistency and we have to get an approach that creates excitement in our fan base to compete with everything else that is going on. We just have to work harder and be smarter.
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