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Home Finchem explains changes coming to PGA TOUR


There is a general consensus amongst many, that the upcoming changes to the PGA TOUR has to a lot to do with mining for sponsorship dollars. The Qualifying School will be redirected as a means towards gaining entry onto the Nationwide Tour, as it is known today. However, Nationwide has redirected its investment in golf, which will see its name disappear from the “developmental” tour at the end of 2012. In order to gain an exemption onto the PGA TOUR, players will be required in nearly all cases to prove themselves, performance wise on the junior circuit before finding a place with Tiger, Phil and Company.

“In 1990, there were five cards awarded on the, then, Hogan Tour,” Commissioner Finchem explained. “As the years have gone by, a continuation of the pattern of players playing better, who come off rookies playing better who come off of the Hogan Tour, or the Nike Tour, or now Nationwide Tour, out performing players who come off the Qualifying School,” he continued. “The number of players on average over the last ten years who have come out of college, gone to Qualifying School and got their card is about 1.4 per year,” he revealed.

Regarding the issue of money, Finchem acknowledged the upcoming changes are intended to represent value, which should in turn lead to an investment at some point. “There was never any question that from the get-go of this discussion, anything you do to make the competition drive more of the access through that tour is going to drive more value to the sponsor,” he remarked. “So that's certainly an advantage. I don't think it's the reason we got into this, but it's certainly an advantage. And we do need sponsorship. I don't think that that's enough reason to do these kind of changes,” he added. “We've been going down one path for a long time and there are a number of advantages, and that's one of them,” he said reaffirming his beliefs that the changes will be beneficial to the professional circuit. “The PGA TOUR benefits a lot from a player going to the Nationwide Tour. He's a better player. He's better able to compete. If he's a player with personality and other ways to contribute, he's going to have a better chance to stay out here for a longer period of time.”

When questioned on a replacement to Nationwide Insurance for naming rights, Finchem was frank whether a successor was imminent. “We are in discussions with several different companies, and close might not be the right word,” he replied.