The FedEx Cup can't arrive quickly enough
Sliding down the razorblade of the final PGA Tour events is reminiscent of the bowl season that now exists in college football- full of events, very few of which mean anything unless you are related to a player on Tour or a player on the team that became “bowl-eligible". The PGA Tour’s schedule of events for the more than two months between August 17th and November 2nd includes the following tournaments with their respective winners: the Reno-Tahoe Open (Will Mackenzie); the 84 Lumber Classic (Ben Curtis); the Valero Texas Open (Eric Axley); the Southern Farm Bureau Classic (D.J. Trahan); the Chrysler Classic (Davis Love III); and the Funai Classic (Joe Durant). Similarly, the college bowl schedule tests the patience of even the most die hard fans, with almost six weeks between the conference championship games and the national championship. The dead period between these games is watered-down with the December 21st Pioneer Pure Vision Las Vegas Bowl, the December 23rd Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl, and the December 30th Meineke Car Care Bowl. Much like the late-season PGA Tour events, these games are more of a punchline than anything. When we are force-fed mediocre football and golf, the major games or events that used to excite us become far less important.
Ever since the PGA Championship, the PGA Tour has taken a back seat to just about everything in my life: college football, the baseball playoffs, re-reading the Harry Potter books (they’re almost as good the second time), taking my dog to the park, listening to the Herd, and even watching the replays of the Georgia games as I hope to find a reason that they might beat Florida, Auburn, or Georgia Tech. At first I felt guilty about this, but then I had a revelation- these late-season tournaments are just not a good enough product, especially from a business with the financial success of the PGA Tour. And while my total lack of interest in professional golf has been bad enough, the worst effect of these lame PGA events is that I have absolutely no interest in the Tour Championship, which, when scheduled properly, is closer to a fifth major than The Players Championship will ever be.
Many have criticized officials for the creation FedEx Cup, but right now that is looking like the best decision made in the world of golf since Arnold Palmer decided to invest in The Golf Channel. The FedEx Cup will bring a timely and exciting end to the season and will leave us looking forward to the start of 2008. Next September could give the PGA Tour its evasive yet craved Tiger vs. Phil match-up over a period of weeks rather than for only one Sunday in April. Next September will allow us to look forward to the Tour Championship rather than having to look past it. And thankfully, next September will put an end to events that need manufactured story lines: Watch the Valero Texas Open, as technology clashes with religion-Former cell phone salesman Rich Beem battles Aaron Baddely in a highly anticipated duel.
While the NCAA and MLB have found ways to make their post seasons more tiresome (just look at the ratings for the World Series), the PGA Tour has taken a different strategy. This new format may have some downsides, but is definitely a better alternative than weeks of weak tournaments ending the season with a fizzle.
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