Week(s) In Review, October. 20-Nov. 4: FedUp Already?

WeekInReview2.jpgJagsheemash! Wouldn't you love to see Borat interview say, Scott Hoch? Oh well, we can only dream.

Meanwhile, in the real world I'm catching up on a couple of weeks here worth of posts that started with Frank Hannigan's letter on the latest USGA activities.

I was called out by the Bomb and Gouge bloggers over at GolfDigest.com and I'm working hard on the low self-esteem issues they diagnosed me with.

In the mean time, reader Scott S made this point that might ignite a few introspective thoughts in Bomb and Gouge:  I find it interesting that while so many bemoan even the shadow of regulation, no one seems to think it would be a good thing if distance went totally unchecked, and equipment was totally unchained. "Any more and it will break". The unfortunate thing, as with many diseases, is that if you have to wait for a major malfunction, you're usually already in the terminal stages. Why not start the chemo today, and save a long agonizing death for another century?

And from Smolmania: "A problem that does not exist?" If there's no problem, then why does their blog exist?

News that Winged Foot netted $1.5 million at a significant cost to course and club, elicited many views.

JPB: I understand the members' frustration. The US Open isn't a quaint event anymore that takes a week's play away from the host club. The USGA rakes in the cash. NBC rakes in the cash. The extreme set up hurts the course. All the add ons hurt the course and the membership. I understand why the members don't want the hassle unless the club benefits in a real way. If the membership feels like hosting a tournament at their excellent course, why not a mid am or senior am?

NRH didn't agree: The traveling circus of the USGA wants to come along for the first time in 22 years and the club signs on the dotted line. They sacrifice a couple of months of the status quo in exchange for a major, then some big mouth members complain for selfish reasons? Boo-hoo.

News of excessive executive pay down at PGA Tour headquarters prompted Sean Murphy to ask: We have a money manager who never lets us know what he's doing or what the balance of our accounts are......would this make any of you nervous????

But Sean, look at the results! Bill Fields and Steve Elling wrote about Rick George hyping the Champions Tour upswing, which readers here didn't quite buy into.

Four-putt:  We had a Senior Tour event in Chicago (third biggest market in US and golf-crazy with 1.7 million golfers) from 1991-2001. The first few years saw over 20,000 spectators each of the three days, with about 25,000 on Sunday. The last three years, though, less than 5,000 people showed up at the course to watch the final round on Sunday -- and that number was under 1,000 the last year, right before SBC mercifully pulled the plug. While they're nice guys, Dana Quigley, Tom Kite, Loren Roberts, Criag Stadler and Allen Doyle alternating in the final pairing on Sunday don't add up to a "helluva product."

jneuman: Men like Gil Morgan, Tom Kite, Hale Irwin, D.A. Weibring and the rest were fine players, but they weren't Nicklaus and Palmer and Chi Chi, and fans discovered they liked watching older golfers who had personalities and seemed to care about entertaining them. Today, and for the last five-plus years, those same boring figures who made the Senior Tour a necessity -- because they were so boring in PGA events -- ARE the old guys. Why should we care about watching them over 50 when we didn't care about them in their 30s?  The problem for the old guys is that they're a product without a reason to exist, something that's carried on long past its time, like Negro League baseball in the 1950s-60s, or the Harlem Globetrotters today.

The Tour Championship arrived, Tiger and Phil blew it off, and for whatever reason, all hell broke loose.

Scotty on Tiger: One flaw in this money doesn't matter argument: Tiger Woods is skipping the Tour Championship to rest up for three unofficial events that will pay him guaranteed almost six times what he would take home by WINNING the Tour Championship. I think money matters to him more than you think.

Steven T.: I think TW might have altered his schedule this year if Coca-Cola paid him 10-20M/year to be a spokesperson. As for PM, he's happy with his endorsement money and half year schedule. I heard Dave Pelz, his new shill, on TGC saying that Phil is getting in shape for next year and is looking good even though he could lose 15-20 pounds.Perhaps Phil will win Phoenix and Palm Springs and San Diego and then quit real early next year.

This seemed to open the floodgates on the doomed FedEx Cup concept, which we've known was a mess for some time. Starting with playing opportunities for Q-school grads...

Bill N.: Sean's antitrust characterizations in this instance are well founded, Finchem has problems. How does he provide playing and earning opportunities to his membership while at the same time cutting playing and earning opportunities? He's dividing the market place covering independent contractors, and his graduates coming from the Nationwide Tour and Q-School will have a horrendous schedule that will not provide them a fair level playing field, as Jeff Rude and Lee Trevino pointed out earlier this week, but will be all the evidence a faction of the membership needs to file suit. I'm starting to understand what Trevino meant when he said he'd be heading to the courthouse. Restricting members (grads) from having a fair (rule of reasonableness) chance of making these playoffs is where the whole FedEx Cup jumps track, after a lawsuit is filed and sucessfully contested, this will go down in history as the Fed Wreks Cup, and Finchem's FECES. 

Hawkeye: Actually, when 144 guys make the "playoffs" and everyone seemingly has a chance for player of the year, that pretty much sends the message that the FedEx is the only thing making the PGA Tour relevant... I mean, why should the big boys bother showing up in more than eleven tournaments (yep, that's but four regular Tour stops for you, considering the four majors and the three WGC's) prior to it???

F.X.  FedEx and Finchem are just trying to put a different label on this long-existing system, and the business of coming up with points instead of money and identifying post-PGA tournaments as playoffs is just a dumbing-down of what already exists, which is why it attracts so much criticism and confusion. Wouldn't FedEx be just as well off taking over various events, and, like Buick, having a continuing presence throughout the season that way? What's the point of trying to invent a new prize that nobody is going to take seriously?

cmoore: The only thing interesting about the FedEx Cup is all of the fighting that it is generating. The concept of a playoff where no one really loses or gets eliminated is ludicrous.

Also from cmoore: How about a season-long points accumulation ending with a 32-man match-play event? Then I could use the word "playoff" without reservation.

Tom Pernice joined the frey and slammed the commissioner and the FedEx Cup

Smolmania: The fact remains that Tom Pernice wouldn't be making the money he makes if Tiger wasn't playing on the PGA Tour, just as all of those guys wouldn't be making the money they make if not for the King.

Bob S.:  I think a more important question is how the heck did Tom Pernice qualify for the Tour Championship?

Pollner: Tiger could completely neglect the US tour now and still be considered the most succesful golfer ever. And I imagine if Tiger left the tour that every single sponsor would pressure the Tour to allow him to play in every tournament he desired. What's Pernice going to say then?