I will admit that I was highly skeptical and perhaps a bit contemptuous of Tim Finchem’s plan to institute a golf playoff. The scoring system is obtuse and lacks both the finality and the surprise possibilities of other sports’ playoffs. In other sports, if you don’t win, you go home. In the PGA Tour playoffs, if you don’t win, you can still go on, provided you at least managed to be mediocre. In other playoffs, even the lowliest wild card team has the chance to win it all. In the PGA Tour playoffs, that’s not really a possibility.
But based on this year, I think the PGA Tour “playoffs” actually are an unqualified success. Even considering the lack of merit as a “playoff,” the series has accomplished the feat of keeping the best players on Tour engaged well into September. Prior to the FedEx Cup, the Tour’s best hung up their cleats after the PGA Championship, leaving the fall to the start of the football season and the baseball pennant chases. The only golf remaining was an afterthought of a fall series populated by borderline players trying to keep their cards, or pad their yearly earnings.
My problem apparently was that I was thinking of the FedEx Cup series as a traditional sports “playoff.” It is not, and the Tour should somehow get rid of that unfortunate word. The FedEx Cup chase has more in common with a season of Survivor than with the football or baseball post seasons. At the end of every episode, a few go home and the remainder soldier on.
I still think the Tour should do a complete points reset at the beginning of the FedEx Cup playoffs. If the top players are so great, they should have no problem moving on. But I understand why they don’t. Television doesn’t want to take the chance of the final week being full of journeymen.
Looking forward to this weekend