Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Fed Ex Cup has trouble delivering stars

Phil Mickelson is conflicted.

He was one of the guys who pushed PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem to change the schedule so it would, among other things, make it easier for him to check out when school starts and not get any grief for putting an early end to his golf schedule.

Phil and Tiger and everyone else got the new, shorter, richer schedule this year and now, two tournaments and one victory into the four-event FedEx Cup playoffs, Mickelson may skip the BMW Championship this week in Chicago even though he’s leading the super-hyped points race.

Tiger did it last week. Phil may do it this week.

Something tells me the FedEx Cup is not the greatest thing since the Pro V1 in the eyes of the guys that matter the most.

Mickelson wants to be home with his family in San Diego when the kids start school this week. If that’s what he wants to do, he should do it. It wouldn’t be disingenuous of Mickelson, whose devotion is well known, though he’ll take a gentle public flogging for not being the good corporate soldier.

Mickelson, as we all know, has stayed home from the Tour Championship to go trick or treating with his kids.

If Phil skips Chicago – he’ll be there Tuesday for a previously scheduled outing but sounded Monday night like a man who’ll be sleeping in his own bed this week – it’s another needle in the FedEx balloon.

Mickelson essentially promised to show up in Atlanta next week for the Tour Championship where he could still duel Tiger or someone else for the big $10-million annuity and distinction of the being the first winner of the FedEx Cup (snicker, snicker).

It was great for Mickelson to finally take down Tiger in a showdown for a couple of reasons. It brought him back to where he was when he won The Players Championship and before he hurt his wrist prepping for “dangerous” Oakmont. It also re-energized the Phil-Tiger dynamic.

What was interesting, too, was how Mickelson talked after his win about how excited he is – for the majors next year.

Somewhere Tim Finchem probably asked for a Rolaids.


Anonymous said...

Okay, here's how to fix this, and ensure that the big names show up for the "playoffs".

Go ahead and have your regular season points race, but instead of having the top 144 guys (WAY too many) be eligible for the first of four stroke-play playoff events, have only the top 16 eligible for a match-play Tour Championship. True, single-elimination playoffs like you have in other sports.

This event would consist of four rounds of 36-hole matches played Thursday through Monday (Labor Day); first-round matches would be played over Thursday and Friday (18 holes each day). I know the TV networks hate match play due to its unpredictability, but 36-hole matches (as opposed to 18) make it much more likely that the cream will rise to the top and the marquee names will be around on the weekend.

Yes, up to 180 holes is a LOT of golf in five days, but if you give eligible players three weeks between the PGA Championship and the Tour Championship, they will have plenty of time to rest up.

This laborious test would end fittingly on Labor Day, and would be a terrific end to the PGA Tour season. There might be a few Fall Finish-type events afterwards to determine the top 125 for next year (plus the inevitable Silly Season exhibitions), but they could go on in the background as the nation turns its eyes to the gridiron.

Anonymous said...

It's me again; it should be up to 144 holes in five days, not 180.