If a Golfer Wins the FedEx Cup and No One Pays Attention…
I am a Chicago Bears fan, first and foremost, when it comes to sporting allegiances. So any other sporting event happening in the midst of an autumn Sunday afternoon has very little chance of competing for my attention. That being said, a few things happened yesterday. During the one o’clock NFL schedule, I was keeping an eye on both the Yankees/Red Sox result and the Rays result as the teams compete for the final Wild Card position. I had my eye on the running order at Loudon for NASCAR’s second Chase event. I even knew the result of Fire v. Revs in MLS action.
I am a golf fan, even beyond the majors. And I had no idea yesterday was the final day of the 2011 golf season. And now that I know, I care even less. Any sport that is trying to convince me a playoff between Hunter Mahan (a player I like) and Bill Haas (a player that inspires no emotions in anyone without the last name Haas) was to select the year’s best player has a lot of work to do. Mahan v. Haas? This is what the PGA Tour is banking on as it competes against the successful sports league in the history of the world?
The truth is the ratings for yesterday’s should-be-exciting final round of the Tour Championship will be dreadful and the PGA knows it. They also know there is no solution to this problem. Unlike NASCAR an “overall points title” doesn’t mean anything to golf fans, golf media members or golfers. Because winning a FedEx Cup will never excited the Phil Mickelson fan as he sips his shandy in the Sawgrass clubhouse, will never make for the subject of a John Feinstein book and will never anything more to Bill Haas than an extension on his estate. Ask Bill Haas whether he’d rather have ten FedEx Cups or one Masters and the answer will come before you get the “s” out.
If the PGA wants to create excitement at the end of the season, they need to move to an exclusively match play format for three or four tournaments. But that would require creativity and thought and the PGA has no real interest in either. They’d much rather sit still with a format dying a slow, sad death.