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Finchem says golf should thank Tiger

PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem believes the sport of golf has Tiger Woods to thank for its rising popularity.

Finchem has warned other sports to beware as golf moves into the 21st century and hailedWoods as the man who is making the difference.

Finchem told the Arizona Daily Star: "Golf continues to grow globally and is enjoying a period of booming popularity.

"At the forefront of this charge to unparalleled growth is Tiger Woods, who had one of the best years ever in professional golf in 2000.

"His success at the young age of 24, and other young golfers coming up on the PGA Tour, bodes well for the continued success of our game."

And Finchem can even see a time when the sport will challenge the NFL, NBA and Major League baseball for the attentions of America's youth.

He continued: "Just as when I was a teenager and was influenced by the popularity of Arnold Palmer, other youngsters are now following golf because of Tiger.

"In the next decade and beyond, young athletes will make the decision to choose golf instead of team sports such as football and basketball.

"Another indicator of the surge in popularity is that our television ratings were up, and that is particularly good in an environment where in virtually every other sport, ratings were down."

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