Finchem stands up for Woods
At last, someone in authority has been prepared to take questions pertaining to Tiger's troubles. Silence has been broken and golf has a voice.
It is a shame it is a monotone, but you can't have everything, and this is Tim Finchem, the PGA Tour's Commissioner, we are talking about.
Predictably, the answers weren't exactly dynamite and most could have been anticipated ahead of his traditional year-end teleconference, one that surely attracted a record numbers of listeners.
Finchem managed to deliver a rare dose of good news to the beleaguered Tiger Woods, perhaps the first that's gone the way of the world number one since his family life imploded three weeks ago.
Woods may have suffered a fall from grace unparalleled in the history of golf, but his behaviour has not been deemed "unbecoming" by those who run the Tour he has dominated for more than a decade.
And who can blame Finchem from taking this view. As he acknowledged, the Tour and Tiger need each other. Furthermore, Finchem's smooth legalese found a skilful form of words to exonerate the man who remains his most important player.
PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem poses with Tiger Woods after his win in the Bridgestone Invitational
"The PGA Tour has never, to my knowledge in our history, taken a situation in someone's personal life and dealt with it from a disciplinary matter or considered it conduct unbecoming as it relates to our regulations," Finchem said.
"Our regulations relate to conduct unbecoming that's either in the public arena or law enforcement arena."
Many will support Finchem's view that this is a domestic situation that is no business of those who provide the means to Woods' day job.
Others will wonder how behaving in a way that has led the world's best player to be the subject of a barrage of lurid tabloid headlines is anything other than "unbecoming".
Pay your money and take your choice. More curious was the way Finchem dismissed any worries over Woods' apparent association with a doctor who admits to using human growth hormone and who is under investigation by the FBI.
"The only thing we know is that there was a procedure reported. I haven't been directly involved in it, but our anti-doping people have looked at it and they've concluded that there's nothing about that procedure that would trigger any violation of our anti-doping policy," Finchem said.
The procedure concerned is the perfectly legal platelet-rich plasma therapy which means taking blood, subjecting it to a spinning technique and then re-injecting it into the affected part of the body. "There's no reason for me to be concerned because I have no information to trigger concern," Finchem added.
The first bit is understandable, the second less so - and here's why. There is no evidence of Woods misusing treatments and potentially dodgy substances, but there is a link between him and someone who is under investigation for such practice - and that surely prompts "concern".
This has set off another frenzy of rumour and speculation, and Woods finds himself at the centre of it. His marriage falls apart, he admits infidelity and all of a sudden it's open season. Before he knows it, he's being labelled a potential drug cheat. And all because that bothersome knee is giving him more jip (and that's the real story by the way).
Shouldn't there be sufficient concern to have this properly looked into? Shouldn't the Tour, the one that administers anti-doping, be making a thorough check on this situation so that Woods can be properly exonerated? He would have nothing to fear, after all.
This is Finchem's theory on why there is no need for any concern. "The reason for that is we spent a year reaching out to players, working with them on understanding the details of our anti-doping policy, the elements of that policy and we got back virtually 100% support for those policies, including Tiger.
"So they've taken it very seriously... I have no reason to have concern with respect to him and a doctor that's used HGH (human growth hormone) with whatever patients for whom it's not an illegal drug."
HGH can be used legally but breaches the Wada code on anti-doping. How would this response go down in other sports? Golf shouldn't view itself any differently if it has the need for an anti-doping programme.
There is a perception that Woods' celebrity status helped him with the Florida State Attorney in the aftermath of the crash that set off the chain of events that have left the golfer at this low ebb.
Such a view of preferential treatment doesn't do anyone any favours, especially with an image to rebuild, and Finchem's comments, which sweep the matter under the carpet, smack of him misguidedly "giving the kid a break", as Woods' manager Mark Steinberg might say.
To be fair to Finchem, he otherwise did a good job of trying to diffuse the crisis that surrounds Woods and the potential knock-on effects for golf. He was robust in his view that the game can still prosper in the indefinite absence of its biggest name.
Woods has been dropped by Accenture
Naturally, you wouldn't expect any other view, and it was also no surprise that he emphasised that Accenture, the highest profile company to ditch Woods, has recently extended its commitment to the WGC Matchplay until 2014.
As for the player himself, well, it's reported not even his celebrity friend Charles Barkley can contact him at the moment and he remains in hiding.
Guardian golf blogger Lawrence Donegan has brilliantly compiled the 27 things we have learned in this extraordinary time since the car crash on 27 November and No 27 sums up Woods' situation perfectly. "Fame, wealth, endless supplies of free golf clubs - you might think you have everything but, trust me, you don't."
Tim Finchem is still your mate, though.