MARANA, Ariz. – In a perfect world, the PGA Tour could have had a practice run and perhaps have handled the unprecedented Tiger Woods statement flawlessly.
But it’s not a perfect world, and for that reason PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem was willing to admit Sunday “that we screwed up.”
By not alerting players to the news Woods was going to make a televised statement early Friday and that he’d be doing so at the clubhouse where PGA Tour headquarters are located. Because Tour officials did not do so, players came away from their first-round matches Wednesday and faced media inquiries not about their golf, but about the Woods saga.
They were understandably upset. First, because they were once against thurst into the Woods story. Second, because the Accenture Match Play Championship became such a secondary story.
“For sure, in hindsight, we should have pushed this thing along to get players briefed before they headed into Wednesday’s matches,” Finchem said.
A healthy line of players criticized the timing of the Woods announcement and the Tour knew as early as Sunday or Monday that it was forthcoming. However, Tour officials never told players; most of them learned it from reporters Wednesday.
Ernie Els was one of those who reacted with displeasure.
Finchem confirmed that he spoke with Els a day or two after that statement and that the player was told why Woods had asked to use TPC Sawgrass for a Friday announcement.
Finchem said he told Els that “the mistake here was us not getting to you guys before (you played).”