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Tiger Woods discusses issues with PGA Tour

Tiger Woods seems well on his way to making peace with PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem, with the two holding what both described as a very positive meeting.

Woods, who recently expressed concern about controlling some of his own marketing rights, said today that "pretty much everything'' had been resolved during a meeting with Finchem two days earlier.

"It was very positive, very upbeat. There was no hostility at all,'' Woods said. "My relationship with Tim has definitely improved. He was very candid and so was I.

"We need a few more sit-down meetings to hammer things out. One of the problems has been that it is hard to get our schedules clear. He's as busy as I am.''

Woods described the talks as "compromises on both sides,'' but was not specific since details still are to be worked out.

The No. 1 player in the world and largely responsible for an enormous boost in golf's popularity, Woods stunned PGA Tour officials earlier this month when he said the tour was taking financial advantage of him with policies that controlled his rights.

He said then that Finchem only talked to him when the commissioner wanted Woods to play in a particular tournament.

When they met for several hours Monday in Los Angeles, they discussed player marketing rights, commercial use of player images and the Internet.

Woods thought simply the fact that they sat and talked was important.

"We needed to communicate a little bit more. Not, 'My people will talk to your people,' but face-to-face,'' he said.

Woods believes some of the negative public reaction to his earlier comments came because people thought he was asking for a cut of the tour's TV money, which isn't the case. He also said he has been surprised by the number of other players who have reacted positively to his comments.

Finchem said he was pleased with the meeting.

"I'm delighted we're discussing the specifics of his business strategy, because a significant mission of the tour is to provide our members with a strong marketing platform,'' Finchem said in a statement.

Woods first vented his frustrations to Golf World magazine in its Nov. 10 issue. When asked how serious the conflict was, Woods said, "Serious enough that if we don't make everyone aware of it now, it could escalate into a bigger situation.''

Among his concerns:

    • Implied endorsements, where PGA Tour sponsors were able to use Woods's and other players' images in advertisements.

    • Rights fees, in which ABC Sports had to pay the tour $400,000 to televise Woods's exhibition match against David Duval last year. When Woods set up another made-for-TV match against Sergio Garcia this year, the fee was raised to $1.5 million.

    •Interactive media. This involves Woods getting back all of his rights, some of which the PGA Tour owns because Woods is a member. This would enable Woods to explore several untapped areas involving the Internet.

"The Internet is something we weren't even thinking about 10 years ago. I believe there are a lot of opportunities there not only for players, but for the tour as well,'' said Woods, one of 12 players shooting for the $1 million winner's prize in the Williams World Challenge that begins Thursday here at Sherwood Country Club.

 

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