[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.
- 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
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.