Tim Finchem Given New Contract to Remain PGA Tour Commissioner

January 12, 2012

Tim Finchem the PGA Tour commissioner will remain in that post through June 2016 after agreeing a four-year contract extension with the PGA Tour Policy Board in a deal that was made public Wednesday.

“My energy is good, erectile | and my enthusiasm has never changed,” Finchem, 65, said in explaining his decision to remain on the job. “We’ve done a lot of good things with this management team and working with a great group of players, but there’s a lot of work to be done.”

The financial package was not revealed.

But as the chief executive of a 501 nonprofit organization, Finchem’s salary is public record. His annual income has fluctuated between just under $5 million and as high as $5.3 million in the past five years, according to the Tour’s filing with the IRS.

According to annual surveys, Finchem is the fifth-highest-paid pro sports commissioner.

Victor Ganzi, chairman of the Policy Board, called Finchem’s decision to stay in his post past his 69th birthday “fortunate.”

“Under Tim’s leadership and that of his executive team, the PGA Tour has achieved many very significant accomplishments,” Ganzi said in a statement. “Tim has positioned the Tour for continued growth in areas such as player prize money, charity, sponsor value and growing the game around the world.”

Finchem said he never really considered retiring when his contract was due to expire in June.

“I didn’t come close to going the other way [with his decision],” he said. “I just didn’t give it much thought until recently because I was too focused on the new TV contract [last year].”

Finchem became the third PGA Tour commissioner in 1994, succeeding Deane Beman. If Finchem remains in the job through the extension period, he will have been the commissioner for 22 years — two years longer than Beman.

Finchem took over two years before Tiger Woods turned professional. Combining Woods’ ascension to top player in the world with Finchem’s understated leadership style, Tour revenues doubled from just under $500 million when Finchem took over to more than $1 billion in 2007.

Purses exploded, lucrative TV contracts were forged with CBS, NBC and The Golf Channel (which will run through 2021) and charitable donations over the history of the PGA Tour passed the $1 million mark and are now projected to be $1.7 billion this year.

Although The Players Championship, the TPC Sawgrass, the World Golf Hall of Fame and the Presidents Cup were created under Beman, Finchem has made his own mark with the World Golf Championships, the FedEx Cup, the PGA Tour Playoffs and The First Tee, the junior golf initiative launched in 1997. With PGA Tour executive vice president Ty Votaw heading efforts of the International Golf Federation, golf will return to the Olympics at the Rio de Janeiro Games in 2016.

Finchem also presided over the move of The Players to May, the renovation of the course and the building of a new clubhouse. The Players has remained the Tour’s signature event, and this year is the 30th anniversary of the first tournament at the TPC Sawgrass Players Stadium Course.

Finchem said his goals for the next four years include enhancing the PGA Tour as a digital product and the fundraising campaign for The First Tee, with a goal of raising $100 million to attract 10 million children and youth to golf worldwide.