Originally created 11/06/02

Finchem makes example of Martha - Stewart



It was only a matter of time before Martha's name came up during a PGA Tour meeting about protecting the image of golf.

Only it wasn't Martha Burk and her campaign against all-male Augusta National Golf Club.

During a players meeting at the Buick Challenge, PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem used Martha Stewart as an example of how actions can lead to consequences that destroy even the most squeaky-clean reputations.

"It was about how a brand can turn very quickly," Finchem said.

Stewart's conglomerate has suffered since accusations of insider trading.

Finchem often talks to players about their behavior on and off the course, although he said his role in preserving golf's image is "overstated."

"The sport takes care of that," Finchem said. "I try to enforce to our players that they need to make sure we're not doing anything to tarnish it."

TIRESOME QUESTIONS: There might be a day when no one questions Phil Mickelson about his aggressive style of play.

He's not holding his breath.

"I would think that after 10 years, after 25 tournaments a year, four rounds a week ... you've seen me play roughly 1,000 competitive rounds, and every single one of them I play aggressive and attacking," Mickelson said. "I would think we would just come to accept it, because I certainly have."

AUGUSTA BOUND: The record number of first-time winners on the PGA Tour has translated to a high number of first-timers at the Masters Tournament.

PGA champion Rich Beem, K.J. Choi, Chris Riley, John Rollins, Phil Tataurangi and Jonathan Byrd each earned their first trip to Augusta by finishing in the top 40 on the money list. Joining them will be Pat Perez, who finished 40th by $38,613 over Peter Lonard.

Len Mattiace, a two-time winner this year, will play the Masters for the first time as a professional. He last played in 1988 as an amateur.

A GOOD RIDE SPOILED: Curtis Strange hopes carts are banned on the Champions Tour by the time he is old enough for the 50-and-older circuit.

Don't count on it.

"Regardless of what we would like to do in terms of presentation, we also recognize that for whatever set of reasons, we play at a number of golf courses that are very difficult to walk," Finchem said.

Finchem said the goal during the next couple of years is to return to more traditional courses, such as Oak Hills in San Antonio, which were built for walking.

"It's not the most important thing on our agenda, but those discussions are ongoing," Finchem said.

Strange, who turns 50 in two years, said the number of carts make a senior tournament look like a "member-guest outing." He said competitive golf should include the ability to walk 18 holes a day.

"If you can't do that anymore, that's when you go do something else," Strange said.