Finchem: Tour can survive without Woods

Dec. 17, 2009 at 9:21 PM
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PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla., Dec. 17 (UPI) -- PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem said Thursday he thinks golf's premier circuit can remain healthy no matter how long Tiger Woods stays away.

Finchem held a conference call Thursday to discuss the indefinite absence of Woods, who has announced he will not play for an unspecified period due to the turmoil in his personal life.

"I want him to come back and play," Finchem said, "but we are going to be successful if Tiger's out for a couple of months or eight months or a year. We're going to have a successful year.

"It won't be at the same levels without our No. 1 player, there's no question about that. No sport would be at the same level without its No. 1 player. But I think the doom and gloom needs to go away and frankly it's misleading to our fans."

Finchem said he had not spoken with Woods since the sport's leading figure admitted to marital infidelity.

"I respected his privacy in the matter," Finchem said.

Finchem pointed out Woods plays in only about 16 events a year -- or one out of every three events on the tour.

"How do the other tournaments make it happen?" Finchem said. "I've explained this many, many times. The reason is there's real value to sponsorship, there's real value to television and there's tremendous charitable commitment."

Finchem said the tour raised a record $125 million for charity while Woods missed most of the 2008 season because of knee surgery.

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