PGA Tour’s Finchem Gets Extended Contract After Television Deal

Tim Finchem received a four-year extension as commissioner of the U.S. PGA Tour after directing negotiations on a nine-year television agreement for the world’s richest golf circuit

The extension, through 2016, was approved by the tour’s Policy Board and announced in a statement. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. He made $4.7 million in salary and benefits in 2009, according to tax forms filed by the tour.

Finchem, 64, has been commissioner since 1994 and has helped increase tournament purses, charitable contributions and sponsorships. He also aided in the development of events such as the FedEx Cup playoffs, Presidents Cup and World Golf Championships, and the return of golf to the Olympic program after a 105-year absence.

The PGA Tour reached nine-year extensions in September with CBS Corp. and Comcast Corp.’s NBC through 2021, as the networks prepare to focus more on the sport’s rising stars and less on 36-year-old Tiger Woods, who last won on the tour in September 2009.

“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,” Victor Ganzi, the policy board’s chairman, said in the statement.

The new television contracts were reached at the same time Woods, golf’s biggest draw, had slipped to No. 38 in the Official World Golf Ranking and failed to qualify for the 2011 season-ending FedEx Cup playoffs, leaving questions about the sport’s popularity in the coming years.

‘Great Opportunity’

“We have accomplished a lot, but there remains a great opportunity to continue to grow over the next four years,” Finchem said.

The tour’s current network contracts, reached in 2006 and worth $2.95 billion, were set to expire after the 2012 season. Terms of the new agreements weren’t disclosed by the Tour. Finchem said the value of the new pacts “increased,” without being more specific.

During Woods’s struggles, which included injuries and the end of his marriage following the golfer’s acknowledgement of repeated affairs, the tour shifted its focus to highlight young players, such as Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, 22, and Americans Dustin Johnson, 27, and Rickie Fowler, 23.

Woods, a 14-time major-tournament winner, boosts television ratings by as much as 50 percent when he’s in contention, according to Nielsen Co. figures.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Buteau in Atlanta at mbuteau@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net

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