THOUSAND OAKS, Calif.(AP) The PGA Tour does not plan to cut its work force as other sports organizations have done, commissioner Tim Finchem said Saturday in reflecting on what he called a solid financial performance in golf.
Finchem said the tour has cut travel, entertainment and other costs in trying to add to its reserves during a tough economy.
“Layoffs, we’ve been able to avoid to date,” he said at the Chevron World Challenge after having lunch with host Tiger Woods.
“We’ve stopped short of saying, ‘One of the ways we’re going to tighten our belt is to take some percentage of people and rationalize why they shouldn’t be part of the organization,”’ he said. “At least at this moment, we’re protecting ourselves financially.”
If there are to be job cuts, Finchem suggested it might be through attrition.
“Our strategy is to look carefully at people,” he said. “If there’s an opportunity here or an opportunity there to combine jobs, we’ll do that. We’re not going to take a ‘Let’s cut 10 percent of our work force’ attitude.”
Finchem said he sent a five-minute video to players and their agents, asking them to consider playing a few more tournaments and taking an extra step to make sure the sponsors get their value. He referred to it as a reminder, saying most players already do that.
But he was concerned about the automakers’ crisis, particularly in the United States, because Buick sponsors two PGA Tour events and Chrysler is a sponsor of another. Buick already has agreed to end its endorsement with Woods one year early.
The tour is fully sponsored for next year, with a slight increase in purses, although Finchem expects charity donations to drop next year. He said the tour has planned for such economic times, which he said any U.S. business can expect every four to five years.
“We’re not just focused on how we deal with next year,” Finchem said. “We’re focused on coming out of this cycle in a very strong position to take advantage of the up cycle, and we’ve got to be careful that we don’t do things just to make us feel good about the way we’re cutting costs.”
Finchem said the tour will add some $3 million to its operating reserves through reduced spending, and he referred to the 2008 season as a solid financial performance.
He would not have guessed that with Woods not playing after the U.S. Open because of season-ending knee surgery, or going up against the Olympics in August. Even so, “I doubt we’ll sustain that in 2009.”
“We’ll take our hits. There’s no question about that,” Finchem said. “Hopefully, those hits won’t derail us from delivering the product to the public and maintaining our charitable base.”