PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem acknowledges things are tough for the North American golf development economy, sees the overseas market “growing nicely” and thinks the Olympics will have a positive effect on the game long-term.
He shared these and other observations with attendees and guests at the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club during his acceptance of the Donald Ross Award from the American Society of Golf Course Architects’ (ASGCA) 2010 Annual Meeting.
Finchem observes that the credit crunch and slow-down in real estate development in North America has affected recent golf course development and renovation. However, he feels that the inclusion of golf in the 2016 Summer Olympics will impact the game positively for years, and congratulated ASGCA member Jack Nicklaus for his role in persuading Olympic Committee members to include golf.
He touted golf’s popularity, citing the 144 million Americans who tune in to televised golf tournaments, saying that the cumulative audiences over four days of a tournament is second in number only to that of NFL football.
When asked whether the PGA TOUR would consider “bringing the conditioning down a bit from its current level to better showcase golf’s environmental stewardship,” he replied that the TOUR is committed to environmental issues. But, he defended the top conditions of TOUR golf courses, saying that it’s the TOUR’s job to test the best players in the world, and part of that test is to provide great conditions.
Finchem is the 34th recipient of the Donald Ross Award, which was first presented to Robert Trent Jones in 1976 for his outstanding contribution to golf and golf course architecture.
Founded in 1946 by 14 leading architects, the American Society of Golf Course Architects is a non-profit organization comprised of experienced golf course designers located throughout the United States and Canada. Members have completed a rigorous two-year long application process that includes the peer review of four representative golf courses. ASGCA members are experienced golf course architects, able to counsel in all aspects of golf course design and remodeling and comprise many of the great talents throughout the golf industry.
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