Tim Finchem’s 22-year tenure as commissioner of the PGA Tour was overwhelmingly successful by any reasonable accounting, starting with the bottom line. Prizemoney grew from $US91 million on three tours to more than $401 million on six tours, while charitable contributions steadily increased and reached a record of more than $166 million in his last year on the job, 2016.
Finchem, 73, has been elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame, the Hall announced overnight. Finchem is the third tour commissioner to have been elected to the Hall, joining Joseph Dey and Deane Beman. He was selected through the Hall’s Contributor category.
“It is the greatest honour to be elected to join golf’s most legendary players and contributors in the World Golf Hall of Fame,” Finchem said in a release. “This is a truly humbling moment, for which I am most grateful, and I look forward to celebrating with my family and friends throughout the game of golf and the many people who made this possible for me. I am especially proud to stand alongside one of the world’s all-time greats, Tiger Woods, in the Class of 2021 and look forward to what will be an exciting year ahead.”
Finchem is the third member of the Hall’s Class of 2021 that includes Woods and Marion Hollins.
“Tim Finchem’s vision and leadership have made an indelible impact on the game of golf over the past 25 years,” Jay Monahan, PGA Tour Commissioner and World Golf Foundation Board Chairman, said in a news release.
“His enshrinement into the World Golf Hall of Fame will forever stand as a testament to his tireless dedication and contributions, but more importantly, so will the countless lives – whether those are the players on the PGA Tour and beyond, millions of First Tee participants, or charitable organisations around the world – impacted by his life’s work.”
In 1994, Finchem was selected to succeed Beman, and it was his good fortune to have Woods come along less than three years later. But Finchem expertly helped leverage Woods’ crossover appeal that lifted the game from its status as a niche sport to the benefit of the entire tour.
Finchem was instrumental in the evolution of the World Golf Championship tournaments, as well as the FedEx Cup and the FedEx Cup playoffs.
“The way the tour looks in 2016 compared with when Tim got the chair, it’s astonishing the difference,” former US Open champion Geoff Ogilvy told Helen Ross of PGATour.com in 2016. “It’s been incredible. I guess on a global scale, the PGA Tour has always been the premium tour, but it’s not even a decision anymore. It’s just by far and away really the only place that anyone wants to play the best players in the world. It’s been an impressive, impressive era.”