Saturday, December 12, 2009

Tiger and the PGA Tour pucker factor

You gotta think that PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem's pucker factor has increased exponentially every day for the past two weeks. You could almost hear him pacing around his office mumbling to himself, “What am I going to say? What am I going to do?” Slowly, ever so slowly Finchem's throat got drier and his lips pursed tighter and tighter. The drama was building. What would Tiger do? What would we do? For every new bimbo that was paraded out on the international stage, the air at PGA Tour Headquarters was gradually sucked out.

Finally last night the balloon burst. Tiger said adiĆ³s to golf for an indefinite period of time. You could hear a collective “CRAP!” come out of Ponte Vedra. We could even hear it in Arizona. Now they were scrambling for PGA Tour Canned Statement 12.6. 4b. Finchem issued his statement (which turned out to be PGA Tour Canned Statement 12.6. 4b(1)), “His priorities are where they need to be, and we will continue to respect and honor his family's request for privacy. We look forward to Tiger 's return to the PGA Tour when he determines the time is right for him.”

There's a lot of under lying meaning here, unspoken nuance, if you will. Finchem needs Tiger to return to play as soon as possible. With Tiger plays, the Tour is exciting and dynamic; without Tiger television ratings drop 50%. It's hard to negotiate new contract with sponsors and television networks when the star of the show is on hiatus.

Finchem is probably nearing the end of his time with the PGA Tour. Retirement is looming on the horizon. It's closer that a short par four. The last thing he needs is a blowout at the end of his time leaving a legacy that spells R-U-I-N. It'll make former LPGA Commissioner Bivens look like a genius.

Boy is that scary.

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