THE NEW COMMISSIONER
When Illinoian Tim Finchem took the reigns from outgoing PGA commissioner Deane Beman in June of 1994, Tour player Peter Jacobsen famously noted: “Deane left him a Mercedes with the tank a quarter full, and all Tim has to do is keep putting gas in it.” Promoted from his role as deputy commissioner, Finchem was the safe pair of hands the Tour needed and Tiger Woods’ arrival in 1996 meant he was soon filling the Merc with high-octane gas.
He still needed to navigate a few bumps – notably the 2008 economic meltdown and Tiger’s fire hydrant episode that threatened to see the wheels fall off. But by the time Finchem handed the keys to Jay Monahan in January 2017, the Mercedes was purring. “Tim has done an outstanding job,” said Tiger, and while it wasn’t all down to the numbers, they underpin everything.
When Finchem took over in 1994, the 44 scheduled events offered a combined $56.4m in prize money, with the largest winner’s share at $540,000. By the end of his tenure, 46 events yielded $320.4m in prize money and the largest winner’s share of $1.89m. Even allowing for inflation, a job well done.