Gary Van Sickle says Tiger-Phil and TPC Boston was the highpoint of the 2007 season as does Jim Litke. Neither notes that non-coincidence that the dramatic week happened to be carried out on a course with interesting design twists and was set up in a way that allowed the players to play golf. Yes, those awful 63's were possible and even fired, yet somehow the game survived double digits under par.
Van Sickle also offers his second SI piece on remedies for the FedEx Cup, which he says is not looking anything like a playoff. He looks at scheduling issues and finishes with the points.
What do you do with all your FedEx Cup points once you've been eliminated? No, you can't put them toward a flat-screen TV.Steve Elling reports from Chicago where they aren't too happy about Phil's WD:
Oberholser, who jumped from 67th to 29th in the standings, was asked if he'd prefer FedEx Cup points or Marriott points.
"I'd rather have Marriott points," he said, "but neither one gives you enough for what you expend."
In uncharacteristically blunt terms, tournament director John Kaczkowski said he was both disappointed and surprised when Mickelson --the FedEx points leader midway through the four-week series -- elected to skip the tournament. When the tour approached event officials months ago and pitched the FedEx concept, there were certain assurances made, he said, before the ink had dried.And he shares this, which based on the degree of eloquence, comes from a Notre Dame grad...
"Yes, absolutely, it was an understanding that all the top players were committed to play, and going to play," he said.
But for those who watched the bedlam in Boston on Monday, when Mickelson outdueled Woods mano-a-mano for the first time in the same final-round pairing, the prospects of the two being again paired in the first two rounds at the BMW must have been enticing.
However fleeting it proved to be.
"It's a joke," said Larry Polanski, 42, a fan from nearby Rockford who watched the practice rounds on Tuesday. "You buy a ticket assuming these guys are going to be here, then they're not. It's like false advertising or something."
Golf World's John Hawkins takes a stab at reasons for Phil's little spat with the Commissioner:
Why was Mickelson, one of golf's straightest shooters, being so cryptic? More than one top-tier player, according to a source, is unhappy with the tour's decision to defer payment on the $10 million grand prize awarded to the postseason champion (see accompanying story). It's not the idea of waiting on the money that irks them, but the prevailing notion among several superstars that officials at PGA Tour headquarters make crucial decisions without consulting the players.
Mickelson also mentioned the season-end cluster that asks the top-tier tour pros to play seven important tournaments in nine weeks -- a stretch that began with the British Open and concludes next week with the Tour Championship in Atlanta. It was a strange way to end such a big day, but then, Lefty had been just as vague after firing a second-round 64 while paired with Woods and Vijay Singh, when he awoke a half-slumbering press gathering with one of his vintage riffs.
And Doug Ferguson on Mickelson:
Anyone who thinks this FedExCup finale isn't working because one player stays home hasn't been paying attention. These "playoffs" are bringing together a great collection of players and producing exciting golf. Through two weeks, there is no denying that.
No one remembers that Woods skipped The Barclays. No one knew Els was missing last week at the Deutsche Bank. And the BMW Championship will get by just fine without Mickelson.
For some reason, though, Mickelson wanted to make it personal.
Mickelson doesn't like that the $10 million payoff for the FedExCup champion is deferred -- and he's not alone on that point. He has argued that the TOUR should designate 20 tournaments a year in which the top players must compete, and he has never been a big fan of being required to play in pro-ams. He doesn't believe the TOUR should subsidize the purses at events opposite the World Golf Championships.
Which issue became the trigger, only Mickelson knows. The surprise was the shot across the bow, especially considering how guarded Mickelson is when the lights come on.
For a guy who fiercely protects a polished image, Mickelson risked that by taking a sucker punch at Finchem on national TV.
His statement Tuesday didn't help, particularly when he said that withdrawing from Chicago "in no way is meant as disrespectful to the TOUR or 'sending a message' to anyone."
Mickelson said he's looking for balance, and that his family has sacrificed a lot this year because it's been a very difficult schedule. But this is the same guy who said at the PGA Championship last month that he was excited for the FedExCup because of all the time he lost this summer with a wrist injury.
It probably didn't help that when Mickelson announced he was pulling out of the BMW Championship, he was a half-hour away at Medinah Country Club playing in a corporate outing. The outing was planned long ago, but it didn't look good.