So now we move into the Tour’s post season. Although I’m as big a golf fan as there is, I’m having a hard time generating any internal enthusiasm for the FedEx Cup Series. In spite of the huge purse, and the strong fields, it really doesn’t feel to me like anything special.
Perhaps it’s the lack of history. Part of the fun of the Majors is appreciating the relationship between past and present. Tom Watson won at Turnberry in 1977; his 2009 run at the title on the same course had unmatched resonance. The last time the PGA was played at Hazeltine, Rich Beem held off Tiger to become a surprise winner; this year Y.E. Yang also produced a surprise. And so it goes.
Of course, it could be argued that the FedEx Cup will develop that sort of history over time. But I doubt it. I have no faith that the FedEx Cup will have any permanence. I certainly don’t expect it to outlast the current deal—even if another title sponsor were to be found (the Google Cup? the Chase Manhattan Cup?). The PGA Tour has shown no commitment to its own history, tossing aside old friends in favor of newer, more glamorous ones. As soon as someone offers a bigger purse for a different format, the Tour will drop it just as it dropped the Western Open and other old friends.
I also suspect that I’m blasé because the whole concept of a playoff series in golf just doesn’t feel right. Perhaps it’s because there’s no immediacy—an impression given by top players who have taken a week off in the middle of the series. It’s impossible to imagine the Dallas Cowboys taking a week off in December because they’re tired (The Lions, on the other hand, take weeks off starting in September).
And the Tour has so manipulated the playoff formula that it doesn’t really have the feel of a playoff anyway. They seem to have the points fixed so that a player can’t cruise into the title by avoiding the cut line—as Vijay did— but the imperative still is to keep the marquee players in it until the end. In real playoffs—seeding and byes aside—each team has an equal chance at the title. Imagine a league setting things up so that one or two teams would cruise into the semifinals regardless of how they did in the games leading up to the quarters.
I’m hoping that this is the year the Tour finally gets it right—that it comes down to the wire with four or five players needing to win on Sunday to take it all; and with no one merely needing to make the cut, leaving everyone else playing for second. I’d really like to see some golf excitement after the Majors.
So what about you? Do you have any enthusiasm or hope for the FedEx Cup?