MARANA, Ariz. — Tim Finchem, commissioner of the PGA Tour, chatted briefly with reporters at the WGC – Accenture Match Play Championship in a spontaneous, but brief, interview to respond to the news that Tiger Woods will make a statement Friday morning from PGA Tour headquarters in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
Finchem was at his diplomatic best, but he did seem a little annoyed (or maybe I just imagined it) that news from Tiger World was just about guaranteed to push his flagship World Golf Championship event to the back page of the sports section for the rest of the weekend. The event was lacking in buzz to start with thanks to the absence of Woods and Phil Mickelson, and was already feeling overshadowed by the Olympic Games in Vancouver. Now, Tiger will dominate the news with speculation about his return until at least Saturday evening.
Asked how much contact he's had with Woods, Finchem answered, "None." He added that he has no idea what Tiger's plans are, what his schedule is (if he is, in fact, returning to golf and presumably he is) or what he's going to say to Friday's invitation-only gathering. "I'm not assuming anything," Finchem said.
There's no way to minimize news about Woods but if there's a best time to announce something, it would be on a Friday morning (allowing the weekend news cycle to overtake it) during the Winter Olympics. However, Tiger is such big news that his statement will be carried live on a number of networks. Also, as player Rory McIlroy jokingly suggested when he was told about Tiger's planned announcement, the timing of it is a way to "get back at the sponsor that dropped him." Accenture was among the first of Tiger's sponsors to distance itself from Woods after the car accident and subsequent mistress scandal.
This is from the official notice to the press from IMG's Mark Steinberg, Tiger's agent:
What: Tiger Woods speaking to friends, associates and colleagues gathered at the TPC Sawgrass clubhouse in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
Viewing: As a courtesy, credentialed reporters can view the talk at… the Sawgrass Marriott.
Most reporters won't consider that a courtesy, FYI.