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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Maybe the Golf Channel Guys Have a Point...

Before Friday's round Paul Casey remarked that his real motivation to play well wasn't Monty's Ryder Cup snub, that there were enough other things to motivate him.

Maybe he should have just gone with the revenge theme and "rode the rage" in the second round. Instead, he stumbled in with a 1-over round that dropped him into a tie for 5th place.

So perhaps Jim Furyk has something to prove after that DQ at the Barclays? He posted the lowest score of the week Friday, a 5-under 65 that made him the co-leader (with Luke Donald, who I suppose doesn't have to prove anything but would just really like to win) at the halfway point in the Tour Championship.

The reason this interests me so is that, until Donald pulled up even with him, Golf Channel's constant projections of the final FedExCup standings "if the tournament ended right now" -- a song I expect we'll be hearing from NBC all weekend -- were saying Furyk would win the FedExCup if he won the tournament.

Furyk began the week at #11. It's not supposed to be that easy for him. There is supposed to be this complicated series of events that have to happen for him to win it all. And he told Steve Sands he didn't even want to know where he stood! He apparently doesn't want to be distracted from just trying to win the tournament.

I must admit, I'm beginning to like John Feinstein's idea that the playoffs should simply start with everybody equal and let the cumulative scores determine the winner. Perhaps we could mix that with John Hawkins's idea (which a lot of other people have suggested as well) that the Tour Championship should be a match play tournament.

Players would build points all year long to determine the Top 100 -- down from the current 120 -- then the points would all be wiped out and we would have four tournaments with no cut until the end:
  • We'd play four rounds at the Barclay and cut to the Top 70 based on score -- like a regular event but no ties. We'd playoff if necessary to cut it to 70 -- roughly a 30% reduction in the field.
  • We'd play four rounds at the Deutsche Bank and cut to the Top 45 -- like a regular event but no ties. We'd playoff if necessary to cut it to 45 -- roughly a 30% reduction in the field.
  • We'd play four rounds at the BMW and cut to the Top 32 -- like a regular event but no ties. We'd playoff if necessary to cut it to 32 -- roughly a 30% reduction in the field.
  • Then we'd have a  match play Tour Championship. You win the Tour Championship, you win the FedExCup.
I wonder how the playoffs would have looked then. I know it would be a hell of lot easier to know who was winning, and there wouldn't be any arguments that somebody got in who didn't belong there. Playoff time would be "put up or shut up" time, and only the guys playing the best would make it that far.

And I bet Jim Furyk would still be in the discussion. Some things wouldn't change...


  1. Ok - I'm calling your mother to wash out your mouth with soap ! The GC guys have a point ? There are some states where you can be arrested for that. :-)

    Over the first two days, with the exception of Steve Sands' interviews, this has been one of the worst broadcasts of the year. Nobilo has been unusually vapid in his comments. Pepper and her heavy breathing are just annoying. And you'd think Hicks had never seen a golf course before.

    I believe Casey when he says he has other things on his mind than Monty and the Ryder Cup. He wants to win this tournament and salt away $11.3 million...and probably be the first lips to kiss the trophy after the win.

    And Furyk has something to prove after the Barclays DQ ? The only thing he has to prove after that is that he can get to the golf course on time.

    Past that - he has a tournament to concentrate on. So far, all three FEC champions have skipped one of the three lead up events to the Tour Championship. The GC goobers flubbed that point, too.

    We purists can hammer the match play idea all we want - but it will never happen. TV doesn't like it. And until Tiger and Phil retire, unless there is another true draw for TV, this FEC point system where the top guys can have an off week and still move on, is going to be in place.

    Ok - Dan Hicks just proved my point. Mickelnuts hit a drive behind a tree and all he could do was punch out - Hicks just has to say "not a good drive." Thanks Dan.

  2. Ok - Dottie Pepper just said that Kuchar's lie lends itself to a low cut - deep grass with the ball above his feet. Didn't she used to play this game at some level ? And Dan Hicks called him Mark.

  3. Just for the record, the Furyk remark was made in jest. For the announcers (no matter what channel they're on), there's always something motivating the players besides the desire to win. I'm still laughing over the number of people (both commentators and players) who've watched Tiger struggle this year and yet still maintain that the players don't win because they make too much money and are too comfortable. Yeah, right -- people always play better when they're worried about keeping their cards and supporting their families.

    And I know the Tour is unlikely to go to a match play finish to the FedExCup. Still, it would be fun to see.

    One additional thought about the scoring... while I think everybody should start the playoffs with zero points (or strokes or whatever they use to keep track), I kinda like the idea that you could win the Tour Championship and not win the FedExCup. Perhaps they could let the players to advance from each tournament be determined by their score at just that tournament, but let the Cup be determined by total strokes for all four events. You could run away from the field in the first two events, then miss the final cut to the Tour Championship and be completely out of the hunt.

    Now that would get their blood flowing big time!

  4. Well - that's not exactly true. A lot of people can't handle the pressure of playing for their dinner. That's what makes the best guys what they are.

    Ok - so far, I've heard Mark Kuchar, Casey Ogilvy, and Brad Faxon making a brilliant observation that Ogilvy probably won't be able to put from the rough. Brandel Chamblee said that Luke Donald's swing has very little that can go wrong, so he has very little margin for error, so he misses left and right.

    These guys need a do over.

    We agree from a pure sports point of view. If the best can't play well enough to get through, then they should be bumped...but we both know that TV has too much to do with it. They want the biggest names there for the last weekend.

    Can you believe this story they keep bringing up...again and again and again.......about Ogilvy staying up all night to watch Aussie Rules Football and only getting about half an hour of sleep ? $11.3 million dollars on the table and he does something like that ? His wife can't be happy. (lol)

  5. That's why we won't see any major changes in the playoff system... under normal circumstances, the big names will play all four tournaments, which is what the TV broadcasters want.

    As crazy as Brandel sounded, I understand what he meant. I was taught a single-plane golf swing, and it really is so simple that very little can go wrong. But -- and this is a big "but" (no comments, now!) -- you really don't have a big margin for error. That "little," even though it's not much, is a timing variation that isn't predictable.

    Think of it this way: Suppose the fairway is 30 yards wide. A player who knows his shot will go straight (or right if he makes an error) can aim down the left side and have 30 yards in which to land the ball. But if his game is to hit it straight and he can be off a little either way, he almost has to play for the middle... which means he only has 15 yards for error to either side.

    How can being too perfect cause this problem? Kuchar also has a single-plane swing, but his is so flat that it gives him a "most likely error" of going right. Because Donald's plane is so textbook, it really is almost too perfect because it doesn't give him a set tendency. That's what Brandel was referring to.

    As for Ogilvy... it might have actually been a good thing for him to stay up and watch. Anything to get his mind off golf will probably help his game right now.

  6. I understood what he was TRYING to say - but, as usual, he did such a lousy job of it, he sounded really dumb.

    What he was trying to say was that mechanically there is very little to go wrong with Donald's swing - about the only thing that messes up is his tempo. Too fast - wide right. Too slow - wide left. Face it - it's a genetic defect - we white folks just don't have good rhythm. :-)

    These guys are just not good at their jobs. On Thursday, someone asked Nobilo why the first fairway was so hard to hit after another tee shot flew into the rough. Nobilos's answer ? The fairway slopes from right to left - which it does - but that has nothing to do with these guys missing the fairway in the air. Dumb dumb dumb.

    Fact is that the first fairway is VERY easy to hit - it is wide and straight - they're just not making good swings out of the gate.

    LOL - good point on Ogilvy.

    These guys are starting to get a bead on the greens - now they're hoping they can finish under these conditions before the rains come tomorrow. They're moving starting times back to 9am.