Category: Tim Finchem


December 04, 2013

PGA Tour won't reveal drug violators to Vijay Singh

Posted at 5:03 PM by Pete Madden
Vijay Singh
Credit: Getty Images

 

In the latest twist in Vijay Singh's case against the PGA Tour, the Tour rebuffed Singh's sweeping discovery requests, including demands for documents and communications related to the "possible or acutal violation of the [Tour's Anti-Doping] Program" of five current professional golfers: Doug Barron, Matt Every, Mark Calcavecchia, Scott Verplank and Dustin Johnson.

In a letter to Justice Eileen Bransten of the New York State Supreme Court, the Tour's attorney, Jeffrey Mishkin of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, called Singh's discovery requests "overreaching" and "irrelevant," arguing that "these individuals have nothing to do with this litigation. Mr. Singh cannot and should not be permitted, in the guise of discovery, to engage in a fishing expedition that risks further harm to the interests of these and any other third-party golfers."

Singh's lawyer, Peter Ginsberg, contends that information about the way the PGA Tour treated other golfers suspected or accused of violating the Tour's anti-doping program "will evidence the full extent of the PGA Tour's disparate treatment of Singh."

Three of the five golfers named in discovery have had previously reported run-ins with the Tour's drug policy.


Ginsberg declined to explain why the other two golfers -- five-time PGA Tour winner Verplank and eight-time winner Johnson -- were included in Singh's discovery request or whether he will be seeking information about other PGA Tour players in the future.

Documents concerning other golfers are just one of four categories of information sought by Singh and his legal team. In addition to "all documents and communications related to any positive tests by any golfer for any substance listed as a banned substance under the Program," Ginsberg also requested information concerning the structure of the Tour's anti-doping program, membership renewal forms and stance on colostrum, a substance that contains IGF-1 (the same hormone in deer antler spray) but is not banned, an all-out offensive designed to force the Tour to bring the details of its anti-doping program out of the shadows.

"Vijay alleges -- and it is historically obvious -- that the PGA Tour has administered many facets of the business in an inconsistent manner," said Ginsberg. "The PGA Tour presently is attempting to keep from disclosure evidence of the manner in which it has engaged in that type of disparate treatment of players. One goal of the discovery is to force the PGA Tour to come clean with regard to how it administers the golf business."

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November 06, 2013

Vijay's lawyer says PGA Tour selectively enforces drug policy

Posted at 12:11 PM by Pete Madden
Vijay Singh
Credit: Getty Images

 

In the undercard of the A-Rod vs. Major League Baseball fight, Vijay Singh is waging his own legal battle against the PGA Tour, and the lawyer in his corner just threw a haymaker.

According to a transcript of recent court proceedings released by the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Singh's lawyer Peter Ginsberg alleged that he has evidence that PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem has not only repeatedly exempted Tour players from drug testing but also failed to punish players for positive tests.

"[O]ne of the elements of bad faith that we are prepared to show in this case, is that the PGA (Tour) has made exception after exception after exception, both with regard to whom it was administering this drug policy, and against whom it was disciplining, violators of the drug policy,” said Ginsberg in a hearing on Oct. 24.

"[F]or some reason, the PGA (Tour) singled out Mr. Singh and treated him in a way that it has not historically or uniformly treated other PGA (Tour) members."

In a January 2013 issue of Sports Illustrated, Singh admitted that he used deer-antler spray, a substance that contains the growth factor IGF-1, which appears on the PGA Tour's Prohibited Substances List.

PGA Tour officials notified Singh of their plans to suspend him for 90 days. Singh appealed, and after the PGA Tour consulted with The World Anti-Doping Agency -- which subsequently revised its policy on deer antler spray, removing it from its list of banned substances -- Tim Finchem announced that the PGA Tour would not punish Singh.

"Vijay wasn't assessed this action because he was negligent. He wasn't assessed it because he made a mistake. He was assessed it because he violated the doping code, and the doping code is predicated on a list of substances," Finchem told the Associated Press. "And we're now finding from WADA that that substance doesn't trigger a positive test to admission, so we have to respect that."

Nevertheless, Singh filed suit against the PGA Tour in May, alleging that the Tour's "reckless administration and implementation" of its Anti-Doping Program had caused him "public humiliation."

The PGA Tour countered with a motion to dismiss the suit in June, referring to Singh's release of claims when he signed his membership renewal form to remain eligible to play on the PGA Tour in 2013.

"Because Mr. Singh has provided the Tour with an express written release of any claims arising under the Anti-Doping Program, this complaint should be dismissed," argued Jeffrey Mishkin of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom on behalf of the PGA Tour.

The dispute cuts to the heart of the question of where power lies on the PGA Tour. While the PGA Tour contends that "the players themselves govern, control the Tour," Singh's lawyer Ginsberg argues that "the PGA (Tour) is a monopoly ... It's an association made up of members who have no choice as to where they exercise his or her professional undertaking."

Singh, according to Ginsberg, had to sign on the dotted line or lose his livelihood, a so-called "adhesion contract" in which one side has all the bargaining power and uses it to his or her advantage. 

"Now, [the PGA Tour is] taking the position, it doesn't matter why, doesn't matter what we did, doesn't matter what we didn't do ... We are untouchable. We are immunized," said Ginsberg.

"You can't ask what our bad faith motive was ... whether it's because Mr. Singh isn't from the United States or Mr. Singh didn't go to the right PGA party or Mr. Singh did something that Tim Finchem didn't like.

"[W]e have the right to discover, A, why the PGA (Tour) did not responsibly turn to the scientific evidence before it disciplined Mr. Singh, and we have the right to determine why Mr. Singh was treated so differently than so many other golfers ... That's what this case is about."

Said Mishkin: "[N]o one pressured Mr. Singh to play on the PGA Tour. He wanted to play on the PGA Tour, and like every other player, he agreed to the eligibility conditions."

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October 01, 2013

Norman: I was 'cut off' from the Presidents Cup

Posted at 12:39 PM by Pete Madden
Greg Norman
Credit: Chris Condon / Getty Images

 

There's an angry Great White Shark after PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem.

Greg Norman lost twice in two appearances as captain of the Presidents Cup International team -- most recently at Royal Melbourne Golf Club in his home state of Australia two years ago -- but the two-time major winner and former World No. 1 player still felt slighted when the PGA Tour picked Zimbabwe's Nick Price for this year's job.

"It came as a big surprise to me," Norman told FOX Sports' Robert Lusetich. "Let's just say it's disappointing. Extremely disappointing ... We were just completely cut off."

Norman, whose "measured" relationship with Finchem is well-documented, joined the chorus of voices concerned for the future of the competition. The United States has gone 7-1-1 since the tournament's inception in 1994, and with six of the top 10 players in the world playing for the red, white and blue at Muirfield Village, the 2013 competition figures to be more of the same.

"It's crucially important for them to do everything they can to make this President Cup a true competition," said Norman. "Right now, it's lopsided and a lot of the interest isn't there that could be there."

If Finchem and the PGA Tour is to turn the Presidents Cup around, they'll have to do it without Norman.

"My role is done," he said.

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September 29, 2013

Scott: Internationals 'have to win' Prez Cup this year

Posted at 12:39 PM by Pete Madden
Adam Scott
Credit: Fred Vuich / SI

 

It's do or die for the International (non-European) Presidents Cup team at Muirfield Village this year, at least according to its biggest star.

2013 Masters champion Adam Scott said he's "tired of getting killed out there," and without a win, the Internationals risk losing competitive credibility.

"The Internationals need to step up and win the thing and make it a real competition," Scott told Agence France-Presse. "This is a big year for us. It's our time ... I think it's crucial. We have to win this year. The Cup loses any credibility whatsoever if (the Internationals) don't start winning soon."

Though they have struggled at the Ryder Cup in recent years, the U.S. is 7-1-1 in Presidents Cup competition since the tournament's inception; the Internationals' lone win came in 1998 at Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Scott's home state of Australia.

"There are a few occasions we did really well, but the US team is a lot stronger," said International captain Nick Price of Zimbabwe, who lobbied PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem for changes that would neutralize the U.S. team's depth. "The commissioner didn't want to do anything about the changes for this year. We're going to do the best we can with the given points structure ... It's going to be a tough job for us to win the Cup."

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March 07, 2013

Tim Finchem, Nike's Cindy Davis make SI's 'Power 50' list

Posted at 1:12 PM by Coleman McDowell

Finchem_300In Sports Illustrated's special "Power Issue," the magazine debuted the 'SI Power 50,' a list of the top 50 most influential people in sports, and only two golf types made the list: PGA commissioner Tim Finchem and Nike Golf president Cindy Davis.

Here's why Finchem and Davis cracked the Top 50.

No. 25 Tim Finchem: He had the good fortune of presiding over the Tiger Woods era, when even the Tour's journeymen got rich, but the 65-year-old's legacy is a global strategy: Finchem served as midwife to the Presidents Cup and World Golf Championships while leading the charge to get the sport back in the Olympics. Sorry, wrestling fans.

No. 46 Cindy Davis: By plucking Rory McIlroy from Titleist to partner with longtime swoosh frontman Tiger Woods, Davis gave herself a global one-two marketing punch. Sure, Nike trailed TaylorMade-Adidas, Titleist and Callaway in golf revenue in 2012, but the charismatic McIlroy (up to $250 million over 10 years) gives Nike Golf next-gen status and sets up Davis, 50, for years.

SI did not include any current athletes on the 'Power 50' list. However, both Tiger Woods (No. 2) and Rory McIlroy (No. 6) made SI's 'Power Players' list of the 10 most powerful active athletes in sports. Lebron James was No. 1 on the list

Credit: Tim Finchem at the 2012 Tour Championship in Atlanta (Getty Images).
January 27, 2013

They Said It! Top 10 Quotes of the Week for Jan. 25

Posted at 12:47 PM by Mike Walker

Phil_quote1. "This reminds me a lot of Winged Foot in 2006, where I hit a drive way left off the tents. So this happened to be way right, but off the tents. You know, I've made some dumb, dumb mistakes, and, obviously, talking about this stuff was one of them."

--Phil Mickelson apologizing for complaining publicly about his taxes


Rush_quote

2. “All he did was publicly say, ‘I may not be able to afford to live in California.’ And the sports media descended on this guy. The sports media is every bit as left-wing as their news media counterparts are.”

 --Rush Limbaugh on Phil Mickelson’s apology

 

Ty_quote3. “We will revoke the on-site credentials of all journalists affiliated with outlets that post play-by-play coverage, whether those posts are originating from tournament site or otherwise."

--PGA Tour executive Ty Votaw on the Tour’s new policy on real-time reporting of tournaments


Justin_quote

 

4. “It's on my radar for the first time ever, the thought of being World Number One.”

--Justin Rose, currently ranked No. 4 in the world

 

 

 

Tiger_quote5. “Here I am just talking about it and my hands are sweating just thinking about the feeling I had to get through each and every day.”

--Tiger Woods on winning the 2008 U.S. Open with a broken leg

 

 

Rocco_quote6. “Nothing he did ever surprised me. He's that good. But he can't do it anymore because his golf swing is different. It doesn't produce the shots he used to hit.”

--Rocco Mediate on Tiger Woods, via USA Today


 

Tim_quote

7. “We believe in the notion that one body of rules is important, and that's always our intent. We just reserve the option not to, if we have overriding reasons not to do so.”

--PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem on the anchored-putter ban

 

Horschel_quote8. “I've played the Walker Cup in 2007 over in Northern Ireland at Royal County Down and there was a guy I competed against three times called Rory McIlroy.”

--Billy Horschel on being prepared for the crowds following Tiger Woods


Stacy_quote

 

9. “People always want to know why golfers from Asia are so good. Well, now we can see how all the countries stack up."

--Stacy Lewis on the LPGA’s new International Crown event

 

Trevino_quote

 

10. “The hardest thing for me to do is fall asleep because I can't wait to wake up and hear what I'm going to say next.”

--Lee Trevino on the "Feherty Live" television show

 

(Photos from Getty Images)

January 23, 2013

How to watch PGA Tour events on your laptop or smartphone

Posted at 3:21 PM by Mike Walker

Live network coverage of the PGA Tour is coming soon to a laptop or smartphone near you.

The PGA Tour announced Tuesday that it would offer a live stream of the CBS Sports' telecast of the Farmers Insurance Open this weekend and continue to simulcast PGA Tour events online for the rest of the season. Visitors to PGATOUR.com and CBSSports.com will be directed to a co-branded video player to watch live streaming of CBS Sports’ third-round telecast on Saturday (3-6 p.m. ET) and fourth-round telecast on Sunday (3-6:30 p.m. ET). The live streaming this weekend also will be available on PGA TOUR platforms as well as CBS Sports and CBS SportCaster applications for the iPhone, Android and iPad. CBS also will have a mobile web-based player available at m.cbssports.com.

Golf Channel and NBC Sports coverage will also be available online at next week's Waste Management Phoenix Open, although only people whose cable companies carry the Golf Channel will be able to watch the Golf Channel's coverage online. NBC Sports' broadcasts -- like the CBS Sports broadcasts -- will be available to all Internet subscribers in the United States. The online streaming will not be accessible overseas.

All Golf Channel, through TV Everywhere availability, and NBC telecasts also will be streamed throughout the 2013 season, with Golf Channel available to multichannel video subscribers, and NBC’s weekend coverage of 12 FedExCup tournaments fully available beginning with next week’s Waste Management Phoenix Open. Golf Channel is televising the early rounds for all 30 FedExCup tournaments on NBC and CBS, as well as all four rounds for six tournaments.

CBS Sports also covers the Masters, which does its own streaming on the Masters.com website and the tournament's associated apps.

“This is a significant milestone in the PGA Tour’s digital history,” PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem said in a written statement. “We are excited to work with CBS Sports to bring live PGA Tour action online, and look forward to continuing our efforts with CBS, NBC and Golf Channel to develop ways golf fans can access live coverage of the PGA Tour from wherever they are.”

Clark speaks out against anchored putting ban in players' meeting: Truth & Rumors

Posted at 9:58 AM by Jeff Ritter

Tim-ClarkAs expected, the anchored putting ban was the hottest topic at the PGA Tour players' meeting held Tuesday night at Torrey Pines.

The USGA and R&A have already ruled to ban anchored putting starting in 2016. The Tour generally goes along with the ruling bodies' decisions, but there is some chance that the Tour could enact the ban earlier or decide not to adopt it all, though that seems unlikely.

Golf Channel's Randall Mell reports that at least one player, Tim Clark (pictured), who currently employs an anchored putting stroke, spoke up adamantly against the ban:

One PGA Tour pro after another leaving the mandatory players meeting declined to comment for the record, but two participants in the meeting said Tim Clark stepped up strongest in defense of anchored putting.

According to the two participants, who did not want to be quoted, U.S. Golf Association executive director Mike Davis gave a presentation outlining the proposed new definition of a legal stroke, which would ban anchored putting. The presentation included photographs of proper and improper strokes. Afterward, when Davis invited questions, Clark was the first to ask a question.

Clark, born with a condition that doesn’t allow him to pronate his wrists, uses an anchored long putter. He isn’t playing the Farmers Insurance Open this week but flew into San Diego to attend the meeting.

“There were a lot of questions, but it was surprising that most of the players who use anchored putters didn’t say anything,” one observer in the meeting said.

Stephanie Wei spoke with three players, who asked that their names not be used. She reports that the USGA presentation, and a discussion of anchoring and bifurcation, took up more than half of the two-hour meeting. Her three sources (Players "Albert, Bart and Cal") were representative of the three main positions that Tour players have taken on the ban -- adamantly opposed, in favor of and indifferent.

Albert summed up the opposition's stance: "It's about the actual governing of us as players. I'm not so sure that if PGA Tour members voted, anchoring would NOT be illegal. The real issue is, why do people the USGA Board of Directors, people who don't play golf professionally, get to make rules for guys that do? That's the main sentiment."

He continued: "The USGA has put Tim Finchem in a very interesting situation. He's basically going to decide — well, it's up to the PAC and board of directors to decide whether we accept this or say no. It's a proposed rule and the PGA Tour hasn't accepted every rule the USGA has put fort and this is no exception."

Player Bart was in favor of the ban and disagreed with the idea that the Tour should consider going its own way: "In my opinion, the height of arrogance is thinking the Rules of Golf should be tailored to us (Tour pros). The beauty of golf as an individual game is that everyone plays by the rules. Guys are asking, why do we play by THEIR rules? That’s arrogant to me. One of the guys who talked a lot admitted, 'Yeah i am looking out for No. 1, I’m looking out for me.'"

Player Cal, the indifferent one, summed it up succinctly: "I really just don't care… because I'm a good putter."

After talking to her sources, Wei concludes that PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem is in favor of approving the ruling, and she seems to suspect that the Tour will adopt it despite all the debate.  Finchem is expected to talk more about the meeting during his press conference on Wednesday.

(Photo: Chris Condon/Getty Images)

August 30, 2012

Truth & Rumors: Deutsche Bank renews Boston sponsorship through 2016

Posted at 11:36 AM by Mark Dee

The PGA Tour announced on Wednesday that Deutsche Bank will renew the company's sponsorship of this week's FedEx Cup playoff event through at least 2016, according to a press release issued on the Tour's website.

Thank goodness. It just wouldn't be Labor Day in the Greater Boston Area without hearing the German-language feminine adjectival word for "German" all over talk radio.

Seriously, though, good work by Tim Finchem and the PGA Tour brass to hold on to another big-name sponsor for a few more years.

August 21, 2012

Top pros react to news from Augusta National

Posted at 12:37 PM by Mark Dee

Reaction from some of golf's biggest names to the news that Augusta National will admit its first female members.

Tiger Woods: "I think the decision by the Augusta National membership is important to golf...The Club continues to demonstrate its commitment to impacting the game in positive ways. I would like to congratulate both new members, especially my friend Condi Rice." (Via AP)

Annika Sorenstam: "I was delighted to hear the news this morning that Augusta National has allowed two female members into their club. The women invited, Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore are highly respected women and business leaders. They will be great representatives for women in the game. I always felt that Augusta would eventually allow select female members. They are obviously a private club and I figured they would do it when they felt the timing was right and I am glad that day is here. Amazing things on the horizon for the game I love so much...Today is a historic day." (Via AnnikaSorenstam.com)

Tim Finchem, commissioner of the PGA Tour: "At a time when women represent one of the fastest growing segments in both playing and following the game of golf, this sends a positive and inclusive message for our sport." (Via AP)

Jack Nicklaus: "Everyone at Augusta National shares a similar passion for the game of golf, and I know they will be great additions to the club." (Via AP)

Bubba Watson: "You know, it was funny, I got a text from my manager, Jens Beck, right before I got on the plane to fly up here, so I told my wife, and so we were flying up here, and my wife said, "Do you think it'll be me? Do you think they'll announce me as a member?" So it was funny. We landed, she actually said, I'm not sure I'll say her name correctly, Condoleezza Rice, she said she thought she might be-- we knew there was going to be two. We got the text or the call from my manager that there was going to be two ladies, and so yeah, my wife joked she wanted to be one of those ladies, but obviously she didn't make the cut. Maybe she's the third lady."

"But no, it was good to see. It's always in their time. They want to do it the right way, they want to get the right membership in there what they're looking for, and obviously it's great. It's great for golf, it's great for the game." (Via ASAP Sports)

Zach Johnson:"They've got their decision, their decision making and what they want, and they'll do it when the timing is right. In my opinion, or based on what I've read and what I've seen, the timing is right to have a couple women members so far and hats off to them. If that's their prerogative and that's the direction they want to go, that's fantastic. I don't know the specifics. I know this time of year is when they start inviting new members, so I know there's a longer list than just two women...Knowing some of the members there, they're always very gracious to have new members come in, and I don't foresee that being any different. It seems like Chairman Payne is a guy -- well, I think he's great. I think he certainly has always had a pretty open mind about things, and that's why you've seen some tweaks and changes at Augusta and the Masters. Yeah, I think it's fantastic."(Via ASAP Sports)

Sergio Garcia: "It's great. I mean I'm not a member so I don't have any say on that. That's great. I hope they enjoy it and plays as many times as they can and enjoy the course." (Via ASAP Sports)

Tim Clark: "I think it's great. It's a sign of the times and Augusta is a top notch club. Obviously about time and it's a place I love and love going to. It's nice to see them make that move." (Via ASAP Sports)

Carl Pettersson: "It's probably good but, you know, it's a private club. They could do whatever they want. But it's probably about time, yeah. Probably good." (Via ASAP Sports)

Gary Player: "Great news. Augusta National admits its first female members in 80 years: Condoleezza Rice & Darla Moore." (Via Twitter @garyplayer)





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