Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - There are two Cups in our immediate golf
One, is on the forefront this week. The other is next week.
Is it fair that most of us care about the second Cup more than the first?
Yes, it is perfectly reasonable to care more about the Ryder Cup than the
FedExCup. PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem probably swigs some Pepto when he
thinks about it, but it's the way it is.
The Ryder Cup is second only to the Masters anymore in anticipation. The Ryder
Cup is not more important than the major championships. But the boom of the
Ryder Cup in the last 20 years has made it more important than almost anything
in the golf world.
And that really isn't fair to the FedExCup.
Every year, the top five players in the Playoffs points standings can win the
FedExCup if he wins the Tour Championship. Three of those men - Rory McIlroy,
Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson - represent the marquis in professional golf.
This should be the biggest showcase for the PGA Tour all year. Remember, the
tour doesn't run a single major, so this is its baby. Finchem couldn't have
imagined a better scenario than these three studs all in the mix for $10
million they don't already need.
But, even as this week builds to the drama of the FedExCup coronation on
Sunday evening, most golf fans/media are focused on the Ryder Cup next week.
The reason is not so simple.
First, the Ryder Cup has truly become just that big. There's no way to contain
it any longer. The easiest reason is the anticipation is huge. The Ryder Cup
only happens every two years.
The tension the Ryder Cup brings makes it more interesting to fans. If McIlroy
and Woods are in the final group Sunday for the Tour Championship title and
the FedExCup, people will be interested. It's the top two players in the
world, who've built a friendly little rivalry.
However, the two will be playing for more money than the average golf fan can
If McIlroy and Woods are in the final match Sunday at the Ryder Cup, with just
that little trophy on the line, people will care more. Why? There's isn't a
nickel at stake and true golf fans care more about two guys battling for pride
and national or continental supremacy than they do about two multi-
millionaires gunning for more cash.
It's not all about matching sweater vests. Fans love seeing their athletes in
the most-intense situations possible. Of course, $10 million is a lot of
scratch and will flicker in your mind over a four-foot putt.
But a four-foot putt with 11 teammates, their caddies, wives, girlfriends, a
captain, a captain's wife, four assistant captains and their wives or
girlfriends is a lot on one's mind. Throw in a few million people caring and
it's easy to see your knees shake.
The other problem with the FedExCup, outside all of us subtly resenting that
much coin at stake, is that people still don't totally understand it. Yes,
McIlroy, Woods, Mickelson, Nick Watney and Brandt Snedeker all win the
FedExCup with a win at East Lake.
Do you understand all of the math involved?
It's not really complicated. Points are re-set for the Tour Championship,
weighing their Playoffs performances. Is it fair? Might not be.
McIlroy doesn't own a huge advantage after two wins in Playoffs events.
That's a flaw.
Louis Oosthuizen can win the FedExCup without winning the Tour Championship.
That means, Oosthuizen can win the FedExCup without winning on tour all year.
That's a flaw.
Those complications hurt the FedExCup and this year's schedule did nothing to
help. Having the Ryder Cup the week immediately after the Tour Championship
stinks for the PGA Tour, but there isn't much that can be done. In 2010, the
Ryder Cup followed the Tour Championship as well.
Scheduling won't get easier in four years when the Ryder Cup comes back to the
United States. The Olympics will take a week out of the schedule and everything
will need to get on the docket in even more condensed time.
The Ryder Cup might be too much for any event preceding it to overcome. The
FedExCup deserves better and it got, thanks in large part, to the European
Players like McIlroy and Lee Westwood, who shunned the PGA Tour in the past,
competed this year. Neither has outright said it, but it's fair to wonder if
the idea of playing this close to the Ryder Cup in high-pressure events on
difficult tracks weighed on their minds.
These Playoffs have delivered, thanks mostly to McIlroy, but not exclusively.
Tiger has contended. Phil has been in the mix. Dustin Johnson, Vijay Singh and
Westwood have all factored heavily in tournaments. It's easy to say this might
have been the most successful Playoffs to date.
The golfers will state to a man that their focus is on the Tour Championship
and it probably is. They know what looms and also that this week at East Lake
But the Ryder Cup is what people care about right now. It's a shame because
the FedExCup deserves better this week.
That being said, if you'll excuse me, I'm going back to watching the 1993
Ryder Cup singles on YouTube.
- The LPGA Tour had yet another tough week when it was in the spotlight. At
the Women's British Open, which was re-scheduled because of the Olympics,
Friday's play was wiped away due to high winds. The decision was made to play
36 holes on Sunday, which was met by criticism by some in the field. They can
stuff it. Morgan Pressel on Golf Channel said that doing that changed the
"integrity" of the event. Excuse me, but trying to play 72 holes before even
worse weather came on Monday is protecting the "integrity" of the event.
- Jiyai Shin won by a mile, not that anyone was paying attention.
- I'm going to stay with Rory this week. I don't know if he'll win the Tour
Championship, but I'll say he wins the FedExCup. It's just too hard to believe
he will be so far down the leaderboard that he can't protect his lead.
- Movie moment - Check this out - http://tinyurl.com/9eosoyy. That folks, is
Daniel Day Lewis as Abraham Lincoln. Holy I don't know what. That has another
Oscar written all over it.
- TV moment - As fall returns, I'm looking forward to the most - 1. "Parks and
Recreation" (best combination of hilarity, good stories and acting), 2.
"The Big Bang Theory" (love this huge hit although myself, my girlfriend, my
Uncle Billy and my good friend Joe Boyle are the people I know who watch it),
and, finally, 3. "Modern Family" (has to get really good again after a year-
long rough patch, right?).
The Sports Network