Fan’s View: Is PGA Commissioner Tim Finchem’s Contract Extension Too Much?

In 2009, Tim Finchem made $4.7 million as the PGA’s commissioner, according to records released by the Tour. He has received a four-year contract extension to be the PGA’s commissioner through 2016. The terms of the PGA commissioner’s contract extension have not been disclosed.

Yet, if we assume he will make at least $4.7 million each year of the contract extension, then is the PGA commissioner being paid too much?

PGA Commissioner and Finances

Since Tim Finchem began his tenure as the PGA commissioner in 1994, he has significantly improved the Tour’s financial position. He has significantly increased sponsorships, charitable contributions and tournament purses. Recently, Tim Finchem closed the PGA’s network contract extensions with Comcast Corp.’s NBC and CBS Corp. These will last through 2021. In 2006, these contracts were worth $2.95 billion, and Tim Finchem has stated the value of the PGA’s contract extensions “increased” that figure.

When evaluating Tim Finchem’s performance as PGA commissioner, Tiger Woods’ role must be considered. Tim Finchem has helped the PGA Tour grow, but during his tenure Tiger Woods became a star. Woods, who increases television ratings by up to 50 percent, certainly influenced Tim Finchem’s success.

However, since 2009, Woods’ role in the PGA has significantly declined. In the midst of Tiger Woods’ scandal, Tim Finchem helped shift the Tour’s focus to young, rising stars. He touted people such as Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, and Rickie Fowler. While the PGA’s main figure was declining, Tim Finchem managed to increase the PGA’s income and shift the Tour’s focus.

PGA Commissioner and Golf

Tim Finchem’s financial leadership justifies his large salary, but what does his contract extension with the PGA mean for golf fans? Will Tim Finchem’s contract extension be good for golf?

Tim Finchem has grown golf. He helped institute major events: the World Golf Championships, the Presidents Cup and the FedEx Playoffs. Most notably, Tim Finchem reinstated golf into the Olympics, after it was absent for 105 years. Under his leadership, golf has become a widely recognized sport.

PGA Commissioner Contract Extension

So, was Tim Finchem’s contract extension to be PGA commissioner too much? No, I don’t think so. While he will make millions, he has earned the Tour billions. Financially, the relationship between Tim Finchem and the PGA is justifiable.

What does Tim Finchem’s contract extension mean for golf? Well, I don’t know exactly; I doubt anyone does. What is clear is that Tim Finchem has grown the game of golf tremendously since 1994. While Tiger Woods was leading the PGA on the courses, Tim Finchem was leading the PGA and golf behind the scenes.

I am glad that Tim Finchem received a contract extension from the PGA. He will lead golf for the next four years. During a period of turmoil in the PGA, there is no one better than Tim Finchem to guide golf.


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