September 9, 2012
FedEx Cup playoff points system can be draining
By Ian Hutchinson, Special to QMI Agency
There’s no reason to not believe commissioner Tim Finchem when he says fans have been commenting to the PGA Tour about the quality of the FedEx Cup playoffs, which conclude next week at the Tour Championship in Atlanta.
When you have so many marquee players in the field, it’s a no-brainer that play would be high-calibre, even if a few of those big names should happen to not make it into the top 30.
Expect more entertainment at East Lake.
It’s not so much that fans aren’t enjoying what’s going on in front of them, but are they viewing these events as playoffs or just a bunch of entertaining events strung together?
Just a personal opinion, but it seems that fans are more in tune with the dwindling fields each week of the playoffs than they have been in the past, so from that standpoint they’re coming on board with the playoff concept that the tour has been pushing since the post-season was first introduced.
In any other sport, however, the playoffs are something that are anticipated all season. In hockey, for example, fans constantly have an eye on the standings to see if their team can win its division, or in the case of the Maple Leafs, simply make the post-season.
That anticipation is the part that golf is missing with its post-season for a number of reasons, not the least of which is a confusing points system that makes it difficult for fans to follow.
The other factor is that fans are consuming a constant barrage of majors and other big events throughout the season that overshadow the playoffs, despite what the tour thinks in its zeal to promote the post-season.
None of that really matters, other than the tour’s ego in its determination to define what’s currently going on in front of us. Fans are enjoying the golf and the tour is reaping the benefits, so both sides are happy, whether they’re playoffs or simply entertaining events.
Rory McIlroy is No. 1 in the FedEx Cup heading into the Tour Championship. He’s No. 1 in the world. He has won three of his last four events, including the PGA Championship and two playoff events. Who would debate him being Player of the Year? How about comeback player of the year? Okay, that’s going over the top but back in the summer, would you have picked him to do what he’s doing? ... Defending FedEx Cup and 2011 Tour Championship winner Bill Haas will not advance to East Lake after finishing outside the top 30. Haas had four bogeys on his last five holes to post a final round 78 ... Canadians Graham DeLaet, who was T1 after the first round at the BMW, and David Hearn will not advance to Atlanta either. DeLaet finished with 74-75 scores after starting 64-70 ... The cheerleaders at NBC were on their game Sunday when Phil Mickelson chipped in on the second hole. It was suggested that perhaps it was karma after Mickelson stopped by a lemonade stand on the way into Crooked Stick, bought a cup for a dollar and told the proprietors to keep the change from a $100 bill. The sugar shock of that statement wasn’t so strong to erase the memory of Mickelson withdrawing from the Memorial after a bad round earlier this year, then having his game go in the dumper all summer. Maybe there is something to this karma stuff ... Just as the PGA Tour is about to make a decision on whether or not to bring the Canadian Tour under its umbrella, the Canadian circuit cancels two late-season events — the International Team Matches are an unofficial event and the Desert Dunes Classic is played in California. The PGA Tour is focusing just on Canadian events, so the impact might be minimal on its decision. Also, the Great Waterway Classic played on the weekend had its purse lowered from $150,000 to $100,000. The PGA Tour is looking at the Canadian Tour as a potential rung in its development ladder. A decision is expected in October.
ON TO THE OPEN
Victoria’s Kevin Carrigan earned a ticket into next year’s RBC Canadian Open after winning the Canadian Mid-Amateur championship last week. Three-time champ Dave Bunker of Woodbridge was second and took the Mid-Master division title ... Ever wonder why people buy homes on golf courses and then complain about golf balls hitting their homes? One homeowner in Reno, Nev., apparently had enough and allegedly shot a golfer. Apparently, the golfer didn’t even know he had broken a window. He was treated for minor injuries and the homeowner was released on bail and will be in court in early October ... Summer vacation is over and classes are back in session, with the buzz on the playground among 10-year-old girls all about Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore, the first female members of Augusta National, according to Christine Brennan of USA Today. The boys aren’t teasing them either. They’re too busy talking about the Champions Tour instead of video games ... Arnold Palmer turns 83 on Monday ... I’ve recently read stories on energy drinks endorsed by Hunter Mahan and Jim Furyk and now I’m confused. Which one should I drink? I’ll have a double double please. Just saying.