Van Cynical Mailbag: Indications are Ole Lanny will be making his second appearance in Van Cynical’s Mailbag tonight. The excitement level is high at Lanny H Golf World Headquarters.
Morning Drive: I turned on Morning Drive this morning just as it started. Cara, Damon, and Rex Hoggard have obviously been reading this website! Hoggard first pointed out that “playoffs” was a misnomer, then he went on to suggest eliminating one or more of the tournaments (but not naming any; Lanny named names).
When analyzing the FedEx Cup, one must remain eternally cognizant of the two key objectives, no matter how dishonorable their intent.
- Squeezing blood from a turnip. The PGA Tour puts short term financial gains above long-term good. (TPC McGolf courses; equipment arms race; split season; the FedEx Cup itself; hidden fines and suspensions.)
- If you finish high on the season list, you can go MC, MC, MC, and still be in Atlanta. That is not by accident: the idea was to get Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson (the appointed anti-Tiger) to be in Atlanta no matter what.
Those two things must always be foremost in your mind when thinking about the FedEx Cup. The second point is why the system was doomed from the start as any kind of real playoff; making it a true playoff-like system would have risked jettisoning Woods and Mickelson in the first round. So, they wound up with a system that allowed Vijay to win before the last event was even played.
Now, these “playoffs” are quite lucrative to the players. A $10 million bonus to the winner? You gotta be kidding! Of course, in return for a chance at a lot of easy money, the players have do a few things:
- Pretend the events are important to them, that they weren’t just money grabs.
- Be good troopers and not complain too much about the asinine format.
- Play in them.
Pretty early on, players saw it they could skip events and it wouldn’t even matter. Even now, after several adjustments, that remains true. The players are on a kind of honor system to show up in all four and play.
Anyway, it’s good to see Golf Channel discussing something of interest for a change. (I left Morning Drive on as I typed this; I didn’t pay much attention, but I did see Dr. Sipaya — a total guess at his name and spelling — who held up a skeletal spine and yammered on about… wait for it… Tiger Woods.) The fact that Golf Channel is being negative on the FedEx Cup makes me think change is coming. I saw that because Golf Channel is never a leading indicator, always a lagging indicator. They are going to spew nothing but happy talk until Finchem or Steinberg (or Palmer) tells them it’s okay to admit the obvious.
Golf Media Jibber-Jabber: I was just thinking back over some of the things we’ve heard from the golf media over the past few years. They refused to move on to the golfers superseding Woods, at first derisively labeling the process as “parity.” They told us that fans wanted a dominant player like, surprise, Tiger Woods. So, they start a discussion about other players and it winds up being about Tiger Woods. Since that time, we’ve had Rory be dominant, Spieth be dominant, and now Jason Day be dominant. And Rickie Fowler, while perhaps not quite reaching the level of dominant, has certainly fulfilled his promise. We have a Big Three/Four, for crying out loud. Still the media mentions Woods every chance they get.