"Good thing they only hold the P-Cup every two years, because it's obviously a tremendous strain on the public-relations brain trust in Ponte Vedra."

In his Up and Down column, Steve Elling tries to figure out the Michael Jordan/Presidents Cup mini-drama:

The PGA Tour's handling of Michael Jordan's presence didn't get much play, but it was ham-handed, myopic and indicative of the blunders the tour has made with regard to publicity over the years. Argue if you want about whether Jordan should have been there as a "volunteer assistant," an invitee of Fred Couples, in the first place, but it's awfully hard to hide a 6-foot-6 Hall of Famer on a golf course once he shows up. The tour tried. Jordan told one print outlet that he had been asked by the tour not to conduct interviews. Yet the tour used Jordan's comments in an "exclusive" interview in Q & A posted on its website Monday. Nice double standard. The tour apparently didn't want Jordan to become a distraction and also barred him from participating in the opening ceremonies, causing complaints from players and caddies, who scribbled his old number, 23, on their hats. He represented the definition of a distraction, of course, and making him off-limits made it even more of a circus. Still, Jordan's presence gave the tour a rare chance to reach across golf's limited boundary ropes to snare a casual sports fan. The tour butchered the opportunity, then hosed the print media who spent the money to cover the event by making Jordan unavailable. Then they allowed him to participate in the closing ceremonies, where he sat on stage with the team. Good thing they only hold the P-Cup every two years, because it's obviously a tremendous strain on the public-relations brain trust in Ponte Vedra.

Why Does NBC Draw Much Higher Ratings For Golf?

Jon Show looks at the PGA Tour's number averaging a 2.0, back to 2007 levels with Tiger's return to regular play. But I find it more interesting that NBC averaged a 2.4 while CBS a 1.9...

NBC benefited the most from the return of Woods, boosting its year-over-year rating for 18 windows from a 2.0 in 2008 to a 2.4 this year, which is flat with 2007. NBC aired the highest-rated non-major of the year, the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Woods’ first win after he returned in February.

NBC and CBS each aired coverage of six non-majors that Woods played. He won four events on CBS and two on NBC.

CBS earned a 1.9 rating for 39 telecasts in 2009, up from a 1.6 in 2008 but down from a 2.0 in 2007. The network posted the four lowest Sunday ratings this season with coverage of the FBR Open, Verizon Heritage, HP Byron Nelson Championship and Zurich Classic. CBS was also hurt by a rainout at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and Woods’ absence at the Buick Invitational, an event that normally marks the start of his season.

Why do I suspect this will come up the next time rights fees are discussed?

"Mention of Woods and Mickelson will no doubt prompt the PGA Tour's marketing gurus to point that the involvement of the game's two most compelling figures rendered all objections inconsequential."

I'm surprised at the short-sightedness of so many otherwise intelligent writers who see Phil and Tiger in a photo together and declare the FedEx Cup format a resounding success. Sure, it's grown tiresome to debate points permutations, but how about a little big picture and consideration for the long-term potential of the FedEx Cup. You know, to actually make early fall golf compelling are good reasons to keep exposing its flaws. Or, say, when Tiger and Phil aren't batting it around any longer.
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"It's a golf tournament, not a swap meet."

In an especially lively Up and Down column, Steve Elling shares this anecdote from last week's telecast which I did not see. Several have mentioned it though:

Every week, the CEO of whatever company sponsors that week's tour event gets a few moments of blather time during the broadcast to toot their corporate horn and spout clichés about what a great week it was. In Atlanta, the top dog at Coca-Cola used his TV opportunity to hoist a bottle of Coke during his live interview with NBC's Dan Hicks. Then the guy showed up for the awards ceremony with Mickelson and Woods on the 18th green drinking from yet another bottle of the company's product. Times may be tough, but this is way beyond gauche and bordering on crass. It's a golf tournament, not a swap meet.

I do wonder if this rather desperate move speaks to Coca-Cola feeling like it's been lost in the shuffle at East Lake? Most of the event is focused on the FedEx Cup and if it weren't for the Coke bottle sets as tee markers, I would not have any sense of Coca-Cola's presence as Tour Championship sponsor.

FedEx Cup Trophy Reflection Help

I couldn't help but notice the reflection of Dan and Johnny's notes in today's FedEx Cup trophy. Our La Habra-based art director Tom Naccarato was able to pick up one of Johnny's note pads, but we couldn't make out his fifth mantra. (See third image.) If anyone can translate what they see in the trophy reflection, please post below.


If The FedEx Cup Used The Old ADT Format...

...here would be the 2009 Tour Championship's Saturday 16 using the 2006 version where the field of 32 was cut to 16 on Saturday and 54-hole scores decided the final 8 for Sunday's $1 million shootout (no playoff would have been necessary):

Tiger Woods
Padraig Harrington
Sean O'Hair
Ernie Els
Kenny Perry
Jerry Kelly
Angel Cabrera
Jason Dufner
Nick Watney
Lucas Glover
Stewart Cink
David Toms
Phil Mickelson
Jim Furyk
John Senden
Steve Marino

And the non-qualifiers:

Heath Slocum
Scott Verplank
Luke Donald
Retief Goosen
Steve Stricker
Zach Johnson
Kevin Na
Dustin Johnson
Brian Gay
Mike Weir
Hunter Mahan
Marc Leishman
Y.E. Yang
Geoff Ogilvy

"Until gambling on golf becomes part of the mainstream betting action, like college and pro football, the PGA Tour will never have a real chance to make a mark in the fall."

The SI golf group contemplates the positive ramifications of the LPGA playing a well known tournament course in Torrey Pines (I have to agree, they should do it more often if at all possible). However, this was a more interesting debate related to the FedEx Cup finale:
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Tiger Takes Day Off; Falls In FedEx Cup Standings *

Now, I know the team at PGATOUR.com is doing their job and doing it amazingly well to keep on top of FedEx Cup scenarios, but look at this disaster of points breakdowns, scenarios, permutations and other nonsense.

Look, I get it that you want to reward the season and playoff play. But the most recent points reset really undermines that argument. If you have to gerrymand the FedEx Cup finish, then it'll never be taken seriously. Never!

Why are all these tough-guy, free-wheeling, free-market loving gamblers associated with the PGA Tour so afraid of old-fashioned, head-to-head, no points stuff, true playoff play at East Lake? Would it be too stressful?

Tiger Wins; Playoffs Take Week Off To Let Fans Ponder Points Permutation Possibilities

I tell ya, the drama of wondering how these beancounters keep up with the shifts in points had me watching tennis. Maybe we can get a camera inside the ShotLink trailer, because that's where the numbers crunching probably goes on and where the real FedEx Cup drama lies. Anyway...
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