As predicted, FedEx Cup fizzled

IAN HUTCHINSON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:32 AM ET

"The PGA Tour commissioner alienated sponsors and condemned tournaments such as the Canadian Open to schedule hell in order to set up the FedEx Cup, supposedly the centrepiece of attention for fans and players the entire season.

"It's difficult to imagine Tiger or other marquee players overly concerned about qualifying for the season-ending playoffs. Finchem may yet take a boot during the many bows he's taking for the FedEx Cup."

The above statement was made in this column on Jan. 1, 2007, when commissioner Tim Finchem still was wide-eyed in anticipation of the FedEx Cup points race, the playoffs and the season-ending Tour Championship, which concluded yesterday with Tiger Woods as champion.

No kidding, Tiger Woods won a golf tournament and he's champion of the PGA Tour, a fact that everybody else seemed to know before Finchem's follies began four weeks ago.

So, what was accomplished by the FedEx Cup? The individual events had highlights, especially Steve Stricker's longshot performance, but the overall package failed.

When the bowing was over, Finchem did take a boot or two --well, not literally -- as was predicted here on New Year's Day. A tender tushy may be the least of Finchem's concerns for there are likely some daggers aimed a little higher now that the inaugural playoffs have come and gone.

While the commissioner took some verbal boots, he won't get the boot, even though there have been such whispered calls. Finchem is a survivor and has a pretty good record to fight off any threat to his throne.

There may be a consolation for those calling for his head. It might be fun for them to see how Finchem fixes this thing. The problem for him is that there isn't much room to swing a hammer during reconstruction.

The 2007 schedule was built around the FedEx Cup points race and the season-ending playoffs/Tour Championship and, along the way, the tour alienated other tournaments. The Canadian Open was moved to a brutal date and The International fell right off the schedule because of its lack of marquee players.

Other events were banished to the graveyard of the schedule after the Tour Championship. It's been marketed as a glorious quest for the card, which really means the fall tournaments are nothing more than glorified Nationwide Tour events with the odd star dropping in just to keep his game in shape.

It's unlikely that Finchem will start tinkering with the schedule again. If he does, he runs the risk of alienating even more tour events. Besides, the tour is running scared of going up against the NFL in the fall.

Could a new marketing blitz be the answer? The whole FedEx Cup thing was done to death by the tour and didn't work. It was presented as a points race that would keep players competing to make sure they made the playoffs.

Sure, the guys on the bubble kept playing, but everybody knew that Woods, Phil Mickelson and the brightest stars in the galaxy would make it. They even took actual playoff tournaments off, so how will the same old marketing scheme work next year now that fans know how apathetic the stars are about it?

The players didn't buy into it and neither did the fans. To be fair, there was some exciting golf played over the past few weeks, but fans seemed to look at each playoff round as an individual tournament as opposed to part of a package in which outstanding play in one event would have good consequences the next week.

After next week's Presidents Cup at Royal Montreal, we won't see Woods until sometime next year, so there's plenty of spotlight for Finchem.

Watching him wiggle may be just as interesting as the post-season he should be trying to fix. One thing is certain -- status quo just won't cut it.


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