Finchem: Rory, Jordan Are Great But No Tiger Woods
East Lake, Atlanta, GA: Tim Finchem earlier today addressed the media for one of the last times as PGA Tour Commissioner ahead of this week’s Tour Championship.
I asked him what impact Tiger Woods had made to the Tour parallel with Finchem’s own time at the helm of the world’s largest golf Tour.
Finchem believed the 14-time Major winning Woods had played a huge role in transforming the image of golf and similar to the effect Michael Jordan had in the NBA basketball.
“He’s the only living player to win 79 times, and only one player has ever won more,” Finchem said of Woods.
“He’s the only active player to have won 14 majors, and only one player has won more.”
“I love Jack Nicklaus beyond belief, but I have to put Tiger down as probably the greatest player to ever play, and the way he did it and his domination at a time when you’re bringing more and more good players along, is incredible.”
“It lifted all boats. I always refer to it as kind of like Michael Jordan in the NBA. He just lifted boats and brought in so many new fans to the game and changed it.”
And away from the formal part Finchem’s address I also asked the Commissioner how he saw Rory McIlroy’s stature in world golf
“We have several guys who have won enough at an early age, such as Rory, that have gained huge credibility in golf not just the PGA Tour,” he said.
“But then you can’t begin to compare the likes of Rory and Jordan Spieth to Tiger Woods or Jack (Nicklaus) and (Sam) Snead.
“I mean Rory’s really, really good but he’s no Tiger Woods.”
Finchem said he believed golf’s return to the Olympics – which was marred by withdrawals of several top male players — could also help grow the game.
“You have about 85 countries where the governments invest money in sports but only in sports that are on the Olympic program,” Finchem said.
Finchem suggested he believed some of the players who withdrew from the Olympics citing fears over the Zika virus later rued their decision.
“Based on the reaction of some of those players after, having not gone, and learning about the difference between negative commentary ahead of an Olympics and reality,” Finchem said,
“Just ask the players who did go. It was a game-changer in their minds.”