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Tim Finchem speaks out on Tiger Woods story

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Friday, December 18, 2009

Professional Golf

PGA Tour commissioner addresses Woods

Even as he held firm that golf would survive no matter how long Tiger Woods stayed away, PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem said the scandal surrounding the No. 1 player was the biggest "curveball" he's ever faced.

Finchem tried to dispel a "gloom and doom" outlook for golf after the game's biggest star announced an indefinite leave last Friday to sort out his personal life.

He predicted a successful season in 2010, while conceding no sport is as good without its best player.

"If Tiger is out for a couple of months or eight months or a year, we're going to have a successful year," Finchem said. "It won't be at the same level without our number one player, there's no question about that. No sport would be at the same level without its number one player."

"I can't think of anything else that was more of a curveball," Finchem said during a break from TV interviews. "Just the magnitude of it. I can't recall an individual in politics, entertainment, sports, with this level of focus that it's generating in the media. Everybody is talking about it. My 17-year-old daughter comes home from school, they're talking about it in the classroom."

Woods announced last Friday that he was stepping away from golf to try to save his marriage.

Finchem said the tour had no input on Woods's decision to take a break from golf. He also suggested that the many tales of infidelity would not be subject to discipline under the tour's "conduct unbecoming" clause.

BASEBALL

The Baltimore Orioles have reached preliminary agreements with closer Mike Gonzalez and corner infielder Garrett Atkins, both pending physicals, and have reportedly joined the bidding for free agent left fielder Matt Holliday.

Gonzalez receives a two-year, $12 million deal. Atkins, who will play either first or third base depending on any further moves by the Orioles, gets a one-year deal with an option for 2011 worth approximately $5 million. The signings -- along with an earlier deal with right-hander Kevin Millwood -- address three of the Orioles' four primary needs entering the winter: first base, third base, closer and No. 1 starter.

Baltimore might face long odds in landing Holliday. He is known to prefer playing in the National League, and there are NL teams, namely the Cardinals and Mets, with plenty of motivation to land him. The Orioles also might not be able to meet Holliday's asking price. . . . .


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