Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Not falling for the Fall Series

The television was on in our den Sunday afternoon, I was sitting with my father and brother-in-law, both of whom are deep into golf and the closing stretch of the Justin Timberlake tournament in Las Vegas was on.

We watched for a few minutes, trying to tell George McNeill from Martin Laird from Chad Campbell when someone asked if we could turn back to the Buffalo-New York Jets game.

"Sure," one of the guests said.

Has the end of the PGA Tour season come to that?

Even Jim Furyk, moments after shooting a final-round 62, admitted he was watching football on a monitor while waiting to do a Golf Channel interview.

In case you haven't been paying attention, the Tour reaches the midpoint of its five-event Fall Series this week at the Frys.com Open in chic Scottsdale, Az. No doubt it will be splendid in Scottsdale this week with lovely weather, quick greens and a field full of pros with whom you're only vaguely familiar.

The Fall Series isn't designed for a big bang. That came with the Tour Championship in Atlanta a few weeks ago and it delivered with Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods holding trophies and collecting big checks.

Still, I'm guessing the Tour hoped the closing events would be more compelling nationally than they have been. Unfortunately, they're buried under football season and the baseball playoffs.

The chase to make the top 125 money winners doesn't grab our attention anymore because it's not quite the end-all it used to be. Sure, it's nice for Martin Laird to secure his card for two years with a win in Las Vegas but it isn't exactly must-see TV.

The Tour got what it wanted with the way the FedEx Cup playoffs turned out this year, a credit to their tinkering with the system to make it better.

I'm guessing the Tour will continue to tinker with the schedule to get it right, too. With some holes popping open on the schedule (Milwaukee's gone, Reno may be next) and perhaps a couple more to come, maybe the Tour will try to roll its fall events into the 'regular-season' schedule.

That would make the fall events more meaningful, condense the season and give it a true conclusion.