Finchem graduated from Princess Anne High School in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He attended the University of Richmond on a debate scholarship, receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1969.
He took the position on June 1, 1994, succeeding Deane Beman, who retired after nearly 20 years in the post. Finchem had previously served as Vice President of Business Affairs, Deputy Commissioner, and Chief Operating Officer of the Tour. Finchem later graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1973.
After practicing law in Virginia Beach for three years, Finchem served in the White House during the administration of Jimmy Carter as Deputy Advisor to the President in the Office of Economic Affairs in 1978 and 1979.
In the early 1980s, Finchem co-founded the National Marketing and Strategies Group in Washington, District of Columbia As Commissioner, Finchem has greatly expanded the earnings opportunities for Professional Golf Association Tour players both domestically and internationally.
He has presided over the last three television broadcasting deals (1997, 2001 and 2005) and has maximized the earnings potential of the tour, and perhaps none was as bold as the most recent deal that excludes American Broadcasting Company and Entertainment and Sports Programming Network and challenges The Golf Channel to get better. In 2006, the total Professional Golf Association Tour purse was $256.8 million, up from $56.4 million in 1994. That remarkable growth has a lot to do with Tiger Woods, but Finchem"s supporters also give him some of the cartulary-register
He is a single-figure handicap golfer.
While at Richmond, Finchem was a member of the Phi Gamma Delta rho chi chapter.