Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Five questions as FedEx Cup playoffs begin

Five questions as the PGA Tour playoffs begin:

1. Will Tiger play all four playoff events?
It looks that way. The fact he's playing The Barclays this week suggests he's in for the whole thing. He'll definitely play the Deutsche Bank Championship next week (he's the unofficial host)and given his fondness for Cog Hill near Chicago, I suspect he'll play the BMW Championship.

That brings him to the Tour Championship at East Lake in another month where he can lock down a second FedEx Cup barring an upset. It won't make up for a major-less year but, hey, it's $10 million, not exactly chump change, even to Tiger.

2. If Tiger's the favorite, who's the second choice?
I'm going with Lucas Glover. He's continued to play well this summer after his victory in the U.S. Open. He was fifth in the PGA Championship and, had he been a little sharper on the slow greens at Sedgefield last week, he could have been in the fight for the Wyndham Championship.

Glover has already locked down a spot on the Presidents Cup team (Captain Couples has promised him he's on even if he doesn't qualify on points) and he's riding a nice wave of confidence.

3. Three years in, are the playoffs a hit or a miss?
More hit than miss. They've definitely helped bring some focus to the end of the summer season, which was part of the goal. Without the playoffs, the PGA Tour season would have already gone fuzzy with the approach of football season.

Tour officials keep working to tweak the format to produce a big bang finish and maybe it'll happen this year. The top five players in points entering the Tour Championship will be able to win the FedEx Cup if they win at East Lake. That means there won't be a foregone conclusion when the 30 survivors roll into Atlanta.

4. Which stars may be the first to fizzle out in the playoffs?

Obviously, Adam Scott (116th in points) is a mess right now. His game has been a wreck this year and he's taking a break from his work with instructor Butch Harmon. Scott sounds like a man who's not sure what to do next. The best idea may be to take the fall off and let his head clear out.

Sergio Garcia jumped to 89th in points after his fourth-place finish in Greensboro, a hint of encouragement entering the playoffs. But he talks like a man who doubts his ability to keep it going for any extended period of time.

5. Will anyone beat Tiger Woods for the FedEx Cup?
Doubtful. But Y.E. Yang starts the playoffs in seventh place.


Andy Brown of said...

I think that’s a fairly good analysis about the FedEx Cup. I read a story that Doug Ferguson filed for AP and even he seemed to be saying things pretty much on the same line. If the four tournaments are bringing together players who might have otherwise been cooling their heels then there is no reason for everyone to be up in arms, which seems to be the general tendency.

Moreover, I think the real problem that the playoffs were struggling with was the fact that it wasn’t leading into a fitting finale which is what a playoff must be tailored to do. The Tour can take credt for the fact that they have been willing to look into the criticism and have made every effort possible to accommodate suggested changes so that the end is worth a grand finish with the winner getting a big paycheck. Now the way they have done it up, and as you have rightly pointed out, it seems that there is no question of going into the final tournament with a foregone conclusion and that is what the playoffs needd.

There might still be a little bit of tweaking but one thing is for sure, the race to the FedEx Cup has been meddled around with in a positive manner and that could only do it good.