After 22 years as PGA Tour commissioner, Tim Finchem steps down this month. Here’s the note that might await his successor, Jay Monahan, on Day One.
I hope you’re enjoying sitting at my desk. (Feel free to take the phone book and two pillows off the chair.) Anyway, since I created the Presidents Cup, it only seems right that I follow the tradition of U.S. presidents and leave a note for my successor.
So let me start with my regrets: The private jet is far too pedestrian. Try to get a deal on Air Force One; no doubt Trump will want a bigger plane. Maybe as a sweetener you could give him some passes to our luxury suite at the WGC-Mexico Championship. And speaking of politics, I would encourage you to continue the Tour’s policy of donating money to both parties. No matter who’s in power, we need to be able to secure a pardon for Justin Thomas’s mustache.
There has been a lot of criticism about the Tour’s refusal to divulge information about player discipline. In the interest of transparency, I recommend that you announce suspensions by saying the players are “in timeout” and that we’ve told them they can return to the Tour when “you use your words.” That oughta do. I know you’ve studied many of my press conferences, so when it comes to handling reporters just remember that they’re confused by big words. I recommend bifurcate and coterminous, but of course you must develop your own patois.
While I remain proud of having created the World Golf Championships, it might not be a bad idea to make them more worldly. I consider Akron to be the Paris of northeast Ohio, but perhaps you should move the Bridgestone to Luxembourg, the Cayman Islands or Switzerland—our players always enjoy visiting their tax havens.
This season the Tour is slated to stage 47 tournaments, which is clearly not enough. The wraparound schedule has been a success, so I suggest doubling down. The 2018 season begins in October 2017 and will run for seven weeks. I think it makes sense to jazz up a quiet part of the schedule and begin the 2019 season in December 2017. Just think how much fun fans will have tallying the hypothetical FedEx Cup points. (It should also help your bonus plan to be playing three seasons coterminously.)
As you know, our TV deals with CBS, NBC Sports and Golf Channel run through 2021, and figuring out this changing landscape will be one of your weightiest tasks. Personally, I’d like to see us leave Golf Channel for good—every time I hear Charlie Rymer’s voice, I’m afraid my TV is going to start hemorrhaging BBQ sauce. Really, the only thing that makes sense is for the Tour to start its own TV channel. Once the players have an equity stake, they should be much more amenable to new goodies like being miked during tournaments, giving mid-round interviews, and setting up the WAG pictorials we both enjoy so much. Why should we let other networks profit from our product? We like to call the various media outlets our “partners,” but we both know that’s just a euphemism for “competitors.”
You’re probably wondering how to deal with some of our high-maintenance stars. I always allow Phil to enter an extra bracket in our office March Madness pool, and that seems to keep him happy. Every Christmas I give Tiger a $100 gift certificate to Game Stop, which does the trick. The only thing Jordan Spieth has ever asked me for is my Netflix password, which I’m happy to share: bemanwho? As for John Daly, he’s always looking for ideas for new lyrics; if you run over a dog, share the details with him.
Finally, a few words about the president-elect. It’s looking a little shortsighted to have disrespected the leader of the free world by taking away his beloved tournament at Doral, and there’s even talk that Trump’s payback will be to revoke the Tour’s tax-exempt status. But don’t sweat it. I’ve leaned on some friends at the USGA and R&A, and if need be they’ll declare his hair ground under repair. With that as our hammer, I think we can get him to back off.
Well, that’s all I got. If you need me, I’ll be in Vail.