The FedEx Cup was a contrived money-grab to begin with. When the sport's pre-eminent star blows off the opening act, all credibility is lost. It's like baseball starting the playoffs without the Red Sox, Angels, Mets and the national anthem. Tour officials are trying to put a happy face on things, but they must feel as if they've had a graphite shaft plunged into their backs.
Doug Ferguson reminds us that the Tour tried this once before at the Vantage Championship and has this from David Toms, talking about the $10 million annuity:
"If you have kids old enough to understand, they're more excited about the $10 million than we are because they're the ones who are going to end up getting it," David Toms said.
Furman Bisher sees it as a threat to...uh, the Champions Tour?
The tour is the stage on which he performs and creates his endorsement connections. For that matter, it isn't cash in hand, anyway. At first the payout was referred to as an annuity, then later it was changed to "deferred compensation." Thus, players don't collect their winnings until they retire from tour competition, and not before they reach age 45, this affirmed by the office of Bob Combs, vice president of communications.
This might be a threat to the prosperity of the Champions Tour, for how many seniors might decide to take early retirement with a fat deferred payment there to be collected?.
Gary Van Sickle offers ways to fix the FedEx Cup before it even starts.
And Douglas Lowe sees plenty of positives...for the European Tour.
After the play-offs, there will be lesser PGA Tour events at which the lower orders can fight out who retains their Tour cards and at that point, with no significant competition from the US, the focus will return to the European Tour, which will be lifted by the returns of Harrington & Co.
The British Masters that has recently heralded the start of British involvement on the Tour in May has been shifted to September 20 to 23, the week after the Tour Championship, to mark the start of a strong tail-end of the season.
The Seve Trophy, Dunhill Links Championship and HSBC World Matchplay Championship will follow in a rousing conclusion to the European Tour, leading up to the Volvo Masters in Spain.