$35,000,000.00 in total purse, $10,000,000.00 to the winner. Those aren't typos. You'd think that kind of jing would boggle the mind of anyone, even a successful golf pro. Place the four playoff events in a time of the season that's typically on the wind down and you'd have a recipe for an instant classic. Yes? Well, not so easy. Classics aren't created overnight and money can't buy history and prestige. Well, perhaps enough money can buy prestige in other circles.
Last year's inaugural Fedex Cup was steeped in dollar signs and low on explanation as to how it worked. The premise is that points are earned throughout the "regular" P.G.A. Tour season. At the beginning of the "playoffs", the four designated events of the year, the points are reset from highest to lowest based on how golfers ended the regular season. Capice? The first playoff event, The Barclays, Aug. 21st-24th, will start 144 golfers with the readjusted points plan. The field size narrows through the Deutsche Bank Championship, Aug. 29th-Sept. 1st, the BMW Championship, Sept. 4th-7th, and winding down at the finale, THE TOUR Championship, Sept. 25th-28th. By then there's one survivor on the island with $10,000,000.00 and some other guys with boat loads of cash as well. That's the basic theory and the P.G.A. and the "not brown" trucks hope we can't unglue our eyes from the 50" LCDs we bought just for this extravaganza.
Here's the difference between theory and practice, at least in Average Golfer's feeble mind. All that cash means nothing to me. I want to see competition regardless of what wad they're throwing at the last man standing. Tiger and Phil don't need it. I could use some, but won't wait by the phone for the hand out. It's not real money anyway. It's deferred. Tiger won't see any of his ten million for fourteen years. Not that it's a huge cash flow problem for him, but nobody will see their cash on the day they win. Last year, understandably misinformed about the purse, K.J. Choi stated that if he won the cup and the ten million, he'd generously donate all of it to charity. Stewart Cink accurately retorted, "He'd have to get a loan." So forget the dough. How about the competition? Well, through no fault of their own there won't be any Tiger/Phil showdowns like in Boston last year. Thank goodness both of them didn't choose that as the event to skip. This year's likely scene stealers might be Mickelson/Stricker, Cink/Perry, Leonard/Imada, or some other mathematical permutation of the top ten in the standings. The way the points are biased on the reset, there's only about 10-20 players with a realistic shot at having to buy a plane ticket for a trophy.
Lastly, there's a few unavoidables thrown at this instant classic. Ahem, The National Football League. The elephant in the room. Name the TV sports giants. NFL, that's the list. In my part of the country, one with four seasons, the clubs go away when the NFL starts. And, not without mention , the baseball season is winding down and pennant races are heating up. For more traditional golf action, two majors will have recently passed by, the Open Championship and The P.G.A. Championship. If you need a late season golf fix, what better than the Ryder Cup? That has history and tradition up the ying yang. So much so that they regularly host it on goat farms when it's their turn and everyone's afraid to say "The Emperor has no clothes!" So, yeah, in September, if the Red Sox are out of the pennant race, and the entire Raiders team has been arrested, or I'm not on the golf course because we just had our first snow, then sure, I'll flick the Fedex Cup. At least during commercials on the History Channel.
Convince me I'm wrong. Sell me on this baby. I'm opinionated, but can be swayed. Sometimes wrong, never in doubt. Let's hear from you. My mind's a speck open.