Thursday Semi Live Blog: Should “Playoffs” Be Axed?

[Two late additions: (1) I erroneously thought PGA tournaments started on Thursdays.  Oh, well, I’m not changing today’s title.  (2) While putting together a list of online golf podcasts, I discovered that Shane Ryan just today posted a bonus addition to his book (“Slaying the Tiger”).  Based on a quick scan, it looks good, as was the book.  I still need to write part 2 of my review of that book.  I’ll do it soon.]

Should the PGA Tour’s FedEx “playoffs” be discontinued?  Yes.

Why?

  • They aren’t playoffs.  There is no win or go home.  Nine years in, and I still feel the need to put quote marks around “playoffs.”
  • The “reshuffling,” another term I feel the need to place in quote marks.  How stupid is that?  Can you imagine the Tour de France “reshuffling” before the final stage?
  • Football.  Rory McIlroy is making his “playoffs” debut today, and all I am thinking about is the kickoff of the North Carolina-South Carolina football game.
  • They cannibalize the West Coast events, which have drawn progressively fewer top players since the advent of the “playoffs.”  This is unfortunate because January and February are the best times to gin up interest in people to play the game themselves: college football is over, and only a handful of NFL teams are still playing; many viewers are watching from cold climates, dreaming of spring.  That is the time to create excitement about golf!  But the “playoffs” have gutted those early-year tournaments.

[We now pause for this word from our sponsor…  I tried twice to watch Golf Channel this morning.  First, an early replay of Golf Central.  I lasted maybe one minute.  They said something along the lines of, in reference to Jordan Spieth and some other players throwing out first pitches, “Golfers have been doing more than playing golf lately.  We’re going to show you some of the best of these from the past.”  As they say that, they show video of Tiger Woods wearing a baseball uniform taking batting practice with some MLB team.  Gosh, what a shock: GC uses the occasion of Jordan Spieth throwing out the first pitch to show another episode of “I Am Cait Tiger.”

I watch CNN for an hour.  I catch the start of Morning Drive.  Within one minute, they are saying some kind of bullshit about how important Tiger Woods is to the game, and start talking about a charity event he played in.  And show another photo of him, of course.  Yeah, give that top billing over the wonderful “playoffs.”  Showing what a joke Golf Channel is AND what a joke the “playoffs” are.  They need to cancel Morning Drive.  Show repeats of Golf Central or something until next January when they can roll out a new format.

And now back to our regular programming.]

  • On the bright side, the weather is usually mild for when the Top 125/100 (more or less) play two huge media markets.  This would be great except for the fact that sports fans in New York and Boston live and die for the Giants, Patriot, and Jets.  Open a Boston newspaper and see if the NFL or the Deutsche Bank gets more coverage this week. [Update: Shortly after I wrote and published this, the NFL announced Tom Brady will not be suspended after all.  Will anyone in Boston even know there is a golf tournament?]
  • The fields get smaller and weaker as the “playoffs” progress.
  • The qualification rules are self-serving and stupid.
  • These “playoffs” are unnecessary.  The Euro Tour benefits from the Race To Dubai, but the U.S. already has three majors and three WGC events.
  • The Western Open, dating back to 1899, was once a strong-field mid-summer staple.  Now it’s a limited-field event pushed into the deep shadows by the NFL.
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26 Responses to Thursday Semi Live Blog: Should “Playoffs” Be Axed?

  1. Sports-realist. says:

    ….Yeah the Fed Ex Cup will continue to be ‘retooled’, ‘rebooted’, ‘repackaged’, and eventually ‘REMOVED’……Alot of golf tournaments have come and gone, and it’s just the $10 mill that made it more attractive to golfers, but IMO it’s RAPIDLY becoming less and less interesting…….
    ….Just like the golf channel cannot grasp the END of the Eldrick era(which has already happened), many ‘golf elite’ didn’t understand that golf is SHRINKING, economies are failing, and they aren’t coming back…..2000 decade was a MYTH, both in economy strength(aka bubbles), and why the game of golf seemed to grow(even though less regular folks are playing now)…..
    ….Fixing this Fed Ex thing IMO involves spreading out these events, similar to the Majors throughout the year, then have a final event that would have taken place last week or this week…..
    ….I can safely say, I do not care who wins the Fed Ex cup…..

  2. Kris says:

    I agree with you on every point about the playoffs. Golf Channel has been stinking up the place, but they’re playing 3 episodes of Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf this afternoon. I about fell out when I heard that. It’ll probably get higher ratings than Morning Drive.

    • lannyh says:

      I’ll have to catch some of the old Shell broadcasts. Also, however, you just reminded me there is no golf today. I forgot they push it back for Labor Day. (I was wondering why the PGA Tour leaderboard wasn’t updating…)

  3. Ken says:

    I don’t have anywhere near the interest for the “playoff” as I do for majors. And I don’t like the fake generation of “drama” but playing with the points the way that they do.

    But I like watching golf. I’m not as into it as I am at midseason, but I still follow it. Yes, football overshadows the PGA, but in terms of interest and ratings, it overshadows baseball and hockey by a lot too, but they still play baseball and hockey. I don’t think there’s any reason to get rid of them; their existence doesn’t hurt anything.

    They need a word other than playoffs. They aren’t “win or go home” for everyone nor do I think they should be. But there is a big elimination factor as the fields get smaller.

  4. DanishDude says:

    So basically you want to shut down golf from late august to january?

    • Bird says:

      Largely a snooze fest, so until Feb. 1 would be fine with me. Then they’d only have to compete with MLB spring training.

      • lannyh says:

        I think Jan-Feb are important in stirring up the interest of new and returning players. I know at all the places I’ve worked, there was always a big gang of people chomping at the bit to play as soon as the first warm days of spring arrived.

    • lannyh says:

      Yes, although “shut down golf” is not really accurate. I would call it “have an off-season.” Of course, as I’ve said before, the fall season events are important for the newly-carded Tour pros, etc., so those aren’t going anywhere. But the perception, for fans of pro golf, that the PGA Tour season runs from January to August. I just heard today that the NCAA football season lasts… are you ready…. 18 weeks. 18 weeks from first kickoff to championship game! PGA Tour golf is 2-1/2 times that!

  5. JoseyWales says:

    Grand Slam of Golf Oct. 20, 21 is cancelled…you got (part of) your wish Lanny!

    • Bird says:

      Spieth, Zzzzzzzzz Johnson, Day, and anonymous, not enough to keep this turkey event afloat. Lots of tear-soaked pillows tonight.

      • JoseyWales says:

        anonymous couldn’t play anyway…he is busy posting here.

      • DanishDude says:

        If only Tiger’d been in it….

      • lannyh says:

        Spieth and Day ARE golf, along with Rory and a handful of others. If you don’t like Day and Spieth, you’re not much going to be enjoying golf the next decade. That said, it was canceled due to the PGA Tour trying to bash Trump for saying nothing wrong.

    • lannyh says:

      Well, I won’t miss it, but that was a ridiculous sham of a decision. And that wasn’t an official event.

      • Bird says:

        Doesn’t say much for the PGA, not being able to reorganize. They had enough time.

        But I don’t care, since the event is lame.

      • lannyh says:

        I think there was more to it than “not being able to find a course.” And I think the players had to have been compensated in some way — assuming they actually wanted to play. You can’t just cancel like that unless you are going bankrupt. I mean, they couldn’t cancel the FedEx Final to avoid paying out the $10 million.

        The whole thing is odd, but the worst thing about it was canceling the event in the first place.

    • TigerFan says:

      It’s a pointless IF but I’ll say it anyway. There is absolutely no chance of the Grand Slam being cancelled if Tiger had some how managed to win a major. Courses would have been lining up to host.

      • Bird says:

        It’s a slap in the face for Spieth, and Zzzzzz Johnson being Americans, and winning three majors. Seems like Americans haven’t had that kind of major success…since Tiger.

      • JoseyWales says:

        If Tiger was entered the TV ratings would go through the roof.

      • lannyh says:

        Yeah, like the whopping 3.9 at the Wyndham.

        Come on. If you are going to troll, take it to Golf Channel.

  6. Bird says:

    Keegan Bradley’s engaged. Maybe Martin Kaymer and Jhonattan Vegas will follow suit.

  7. Sports-realist. says:

    …..It would be interesting if the 4 players who were supposed to play, would do a Tom Brady, and break ranks with the PGA…..
    ….The smallest minority have been ruining this country, from judges to politicians, telling us how great muslims with violent tendencies, illegal immigrants with criminal records, and homos with aids are somehow great for this society…..I mean it’s absolutely gone crazy in recent years….
    ….Spieth and Day should call Trump up and say they’d play for charity or something, and stick it to Finchem and friends….They would get ALOT of public support…MOST Americans hate pc…..

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