From the Rough

Golf without discretion

Just another reason why the FedEx Cup is bound to fail

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The one week lull between the BMW Championship and Tour Championship was supposed to give the PGA Tour enough time to build up the final event of the FedEx Cup and the $10 million prize for first place.

Instead, the week has given the media even more time to poke holes in the FedEx Cup, an event that’s received a lukewarm response for the third straight year. Whether it’s the points system or the fact that players are forced to play three straight weeks, there’s something about the playoff event that seems to rub everyone the wrong way.

Aside from the obvious problems with the event (not giving the previous winner an exemption into the following years event), there are some less obvious problems that have come up in recent weeks, one of them being the tour’s decision to go up against the NFL for weekend television ratings.

As GolfDigest.com’s John Strege noted, this week’s telecast is starting smack dab in the middle of college and professional football on Saturday and Sunday:

NBC’s telecast of the final round of the Tour Championship next week begins at 1:30 (EDT), at which point the New York Giants will be in the first quarter of their game with Tennessee, the Pittsburgh Steelers will be playing at Tampa Bay, the entire state of Texas will be otherwise engaged with the Dallas Cowboys-Houston Texans game, the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints will be hosting Atlanta and the New England Patriots will be in the midst of their game with Buffalo.

To boot, the Yankees and Red Sox are playing that weekend, though mercifully, for golf’s sake, Sunday’s game won’t begin until 8:05 p.m. (EST).

Saturday’s NBC telecast of the Tour Championship begins at noon (EDT), meanwhile, 30 minutes before the Alabama-Arkansas and Ohio State-Eastern Michigan games begin.

If that wasn’t bad enough, the tour has to promote their Tour Championship without Tiger Woods in the field. If the event wasn’t doomed from the start, it is now.

What I still can’t understand is why the tour continues to push this event in the middle of football season. Unless Tiger is in contention or there’s a head-to-head battle between Tiger and Phil, golf will never get the ratings they need to be a player on the weekends.

It’d almost make more sense at this point to scrap the whole system and go back to the old format, with the Tour Championship being the season ending event. Move the Barclays, BMW and Deutsche to various spots in the tour schedule (they have some holes to fill with dropped sponsorships) and go from there. And who knows, maybe it would help the tour’s bottom line.

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Written by Jonathan Wall

09/17/2010 at 12:43 pm

Posted in FedEx Cup, Media

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