Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Golf Digest Column: Tour Needs To Zero In On Real Playoffs

The party line from the PGA Tour in recent weeks has been: The playoffs, now in their fourth year, are "starting to take hold." And, "Fans are beginning to understand how the system works."

Those are the phrases being repeated on-air by the tour's TV partners -- as commissioner Tim Finchem likes to call them. The players are using them, too, as if repeating the lines over and over makes them true.

Here is a slightly different take on the playoffs: They don't work. People do not understand them. The system is a joke. Wouldn't you just love to hear Jim Nantz or Johnny Miller say that?

They would be speaking the truth if they did.

Consider a few facts: If Phil Mickelson had followed his victory at the Masters by winning the U.S. Open, British Open and PGA Championship, he would have made history by winning the Grand Slam. He also would have accumulated a total of 2,400 FedEx Cup points for those four titles.

When Matt Kuchar won the Barclays, he received 2,500 FedEx Cup points.

That's right. Win all four majors, receive 2,400 points. Win one of the Playoff events, receive 100 points more.

Click here for the rest of the column: Tour needs to zero in on real playoffs


Tim said...

All that has to happen is for FedEx to pull their money away - no one else is there to spend $10m for purse, plus all the other ad-buy money throughout the year. No way it pays off -- golf ends at the PGA Championship, and by that stage football is already bleeding into it anyways.

Mr. X said...

Does golf really think it can compete for eyeballs on fall weekend afternoons against college and pro football?

Gordon said...

If I recall either Tiger or Phil won the Fed-Ex cup without even playing in all the events.
ImagineBill Billecheck calling Roger Goodell and telling him "You know Rog ole buddy we are pretty banged up we'll just sit out the next round and play the following week" That was changed I realize but still.... ! Tim Finchem is delusional if he believes that anyone inclusive of the players care about his stupid "playoffs". Money yes but some stupid cup no.

At least change the name to THE FRUAD-EX CUP!

Forget revising the FED-EX cup playoffs just get rid of them. It's not a playoff and as golf is an individule game and as such as a playoff is impossible and unnecessary.

Golf fans are just waiting for the Ryder Cup. And don't look now but members of the Europian team have won the last six tournaments over there. That and the "Monty" factor do not bode well for the USA.

As others have so accurately pointed out the PGA is competing against NFL and NCAA football.

And speaking of NCAA football I'm sure all the USC players are really satisfied now that Reggie Bush has returned the most meaningless and overhyped trophy in sports. Lets see Bush is playing in the NFL, Pete Carrol is coaching in the NFL and Mike Garrett is cashing severance checks. MEANWHILE a bunch of kids who were juniors in high school when the infractions were comitted are being punished. WAY TO GO NCAA YOU'VE DONE IT AGAIN!

Dana King said...

If we're going to advocate for golf's playoffs being like real playoffs (and we should), let's go all the way.

The top 120 players in Fed Ex points qualify for the first event. They play a 72 hole event, from which the top 90 advance to the next tournament. No carryover scores. The players keep the money they won the first week, but the 90 survivors start fresh the next week.

The second tournament pats off its finishers, and the top 60 advance to week three. Everyone starts even there, and the top 30 qualify for the finals. The winner is tour champion.

It's not like the Yankees gte a head start on the World Series if they sweep the LCS; why should a golfer get to be champion without winning any of the "playoff" tournaments?

John said...

John, most of the major sports can have the same effect. You can run the table throughout the year but lose in the first round to not win a championship. true, the majors matter more than, say, week 6 in the nfl, but the point still holds. Dana's suggestions toward elimination would be an improvement, but anyone would have to admit what they have started still beats the heck out of what was previously the beginning of the silly season.

Erik J. Barzeski said...

Wait, you think it's wrong that Phil Mickelson doesn't start over, and yet you want "real playoffs" where the "regular season doesn't really matter at all??

Doesn't make sense. You want to have your cake and eat it too, and that's not possible.

I think we've seen three to four weeks of great golfers on decent golf courses, and it makes whether a guy finishes T8 or solo 9th interesting.

Mel said...

"Those are the phrases being repeated on-air by the tour's TV partners". You are spot on with that statement. We have been hearing “FedEx Cup” ad nauseum all year long. Not to pick on Bill Kratzert, but on live@ the past few weeks he has spent most of his on-air time talking about how wonderful the "playoffs" are and shooting down any suggestions from the other on-air guys about how to improve them. We can all see that the system doesn't even resemble playoffs in any real way. The whole thing was meant to bribe Tiger, Phil and a few other top players to hang around into the fall. Now that Tiger has self-destructed and Phil is playing less than great golf since turning 40, the Tour is left with Kuchar, Hoffman, et al, who are good golfers but let's face it – most of the "Tiger followers" don't even know (or care) who those guys are. The basic reality is that Tiger would gladly give back both of his FedEx cups, his single Players win and all of his World Golf titles in return for five more majors.

Gunnar said...

I can watch golf all year long. I don't really mind golf winding down after the PGA. It is still fun to watch your favorite 2nd tier players, the rookies and the local guys from your area. They are the ones fighting for their first win, or to stay in the top 125 for the year, to retain their tour status. Sports is more fun without an elaborate math formula to determine the winner...see BCS, Nascar chase, and FedEx Cup.

Brian Sullivan said...


I read and listen often, but honestly, I just don't understand all the ire about the FEDEX. All know it is not the same as a major. Now would a player trade winning $10m for winning 1 major such as the PGA? Probably depends on the player I guess.

But for a golf fan like me, (and I watch golf alot!) this has been the best month of golf of the entire year - from a week after week standpoint. You make a big deal about the points - it seems pretty easy to me - the more you win/higher you place, you get points during the years - majors and WGC count more. Just like every other sport, that serves to position you for the playoffs - the better you do during the season, the more favorable is your placement. Once the playoffs start, the reg season gets diminshed. Someone else above already mentioned you contradict your self re:the Majors.
Honestly, why can't it just be enjoyed for what it is - a 4 week elimination tournament for alot of money, plus some presige? Finally, it is so, so, much better than what was there before. BTW, last week I watched the BMW 85%, and flipped to the NFL for the other 15% - I definately would not have done that without the FEDEX Cup aspect and all the big names that it brings out.