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PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem Talks Tiger For The First Time

Thursday, 17 Dec 2009 | 12:15 PM ET

PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem gave his first interview since Tiger Woods made news headlines off the course to CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" this morning. Below, you can watch the entire interview and read some of the highlights.

Finchem on PGA Tour Future
Tim Finchem, commissioner of the PGA Tour, shares his reaction to Tiger Woods' indefinite departure from professional golf, with CNBC's Darren Rovell.

On his reaction to Tiger's admission of infidelity and his decision to step away from the game: "We indicated that we supported that decision. We thought that his priorities were in the right place and I continue to believe that."

On the notion the PGA Tour had anything to do with Tiger's decision: When the time is right, that's really his decision. But if you've watched Tiger over the last 13 years, he doesn't come out to play golf unless he's in position to win physically and mentally."

On the timeframe Tiger could be out for: "I think that it could be weeks, it could be months, it could be an extended amount of time. I really don't know."

Whether Tiger has done any damage to the game: "I don't think the game has been damaged. I mean, the games goes back centures. We have been playing golf for 500 years and every one of those years, the game of golf has grown."

Tiger Woods
Getty Images
Tiger Woods

On how the mainstream media has portrayed the position the tour is in: "There's no point in arguing with the media when they get on a roll with some of these things...The reality is I am more concerned with the continued recession, the economic factors, than I am about Tiger leaving."

How TV negotiations for broadcast rights after 2012 will be affected by Tiger's potential absence: "Historically, we like a full-year between when we complete our TV discussions and the end of the term, so we are looking forward to the fourth quarter of 2011 for our TV negotiations and that's almost two years away."

On whether he's spoken to Tiger: "I have not spoken to him since all of this has started, but I have observed his request for privacy and again I and all of us support his decision to step away."

On whether the casual golf fan views the game differently as compared to three weeks ago: "I think that people recognize that this is an individual's personal life. The game of golf was bigger than Jack Nicklaus when Jack was dominating the game. It's bigger than Tiger when Tiger is dominating the game and it will go on."

Questions? Comments? SportsBiz@cnbc.com

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