FedEx Cup coming into its own

By Doug FergusonAugust 25, 2009, 4:00 pm
The Barclays JERSEY CITY, N.J. ' For those who dont buy into the FedEx Cup, consider the alternative.
 
Ten years ago this week, with the majors done for the season, the PGA Tour embarked on a four-week stretch that included the World Series of Golf at Firestone, followed by the Air Canada Championship in Vancouver, the Canadian Open and the B.C. Open.
 
Tiger Woods, David Duval, Davis Love III and Vijay Singh ' the four highest-ranked members of the PGA Tour ' played only the first week. Phil Mickelson threw in the B.C. Open that year, mainly to tune up for the Ryder Cup.
 
The PGA Tour Playoffs begin Thursday at The Barclays with the top 124 players on tour, missing only Paul Casey with a rib injury.
 
Mickelson was on the practice range until taking a ferry across the Hudson River to his hotel in Manhattan. There was a buzz about the arrival of Woods, competing in the opening playoff event for the first time. The four major champions already were at Liberty National, gearing up for four tournaments that could go a long way toward deciding player of the year.
 
This is the third year, and it has developed a different feeling, Geoff Ogilvy said Tuesday. You can definitely feel it because everybody is here. Its a bit like The Players Championship.
 
And thats just a start. The top 100 will be at the TPC Boston next week for the Deutsche Bank Championship, then the top 70 at Cog Hill outside Chicago for the BMW Championship. After a week off, the top 30 meet in Atlanta for a shot at $10 million.
 
You wont find such a stretch of strong fields at any other time of the year.
 
Is that such a bad thing?
 
Perhaps it is time for the FedEx Cup to establish what it is, rather than to defend what its not.
 
It is not bigger than winning a major, as Ryuji Imada says in the latest PGA Tour commercial trying to hype the year-end bonanza. Majors define careers. For the moment, the FedEx Cup defines a bank account.
 
That led to a question, however, that shed some light on what this series is all about.
 
Would players rather win the FedEx Cup or The Players Championship, the next best thing to a major?
 
Ogilvy was among those who picked The Players Championship, primarily because it has more than 30 years of history behind it as having the strongest and deepest field in golf on a course that doesnt suit a particular style.
 
Rick George, the tours chief of operations, playfully joined the conversation and picked the FedEx Cup for a reason that should not be dismissed. He called it the hardest thing to win in golf.
 
Tournaments are won over four days. This is an eight-month body of work, followed by three big events when the points are quintupled, and a Tour Championship that should finally have some meaning.
 
That doesnt make it more important.
 
Its harder to win the FedEx Cup than the Masters, Ogilvy replied to him. But Id rather win the Masters.
 
Give Tim Herron a bonus for honesty.
 
Financially? The FedEx Cup with that $10 million pot at the end, he said. The Players is something thats part of history. But if you win this, youd have to win two tournaments against pretty strong fields. And two is better than one, right?
 
Kevin Sutherland was leaning toward The Players Championship until he thought it through.
 
You almost have to do more to win the FedEx Cup, he said. It shows youve played better than everyone else for an extended period of time. I dont know if you can say you played better than anyone for the whole year, because those last four events are weighted. But youll have played better than anyone for a month. And thats hard to do.
 
Its not hard for someone like Woods, which explains why he won the inaugural FedEx Cup despite skipping The Barclays, and winning so handily he could have skipped the Tour Championship. Even if Woods were to win the next three weeks, he still would not be guaranteed to win the FedEx Cup.
 
That could be one problem that wont be known until the next month plays out.
 
The FedEx Cup has changed its points system after each of the past two years. What hasnt changed is the caliber of the winner ' Woods and Singh ' which leads Paul Goydos to believe this has merit.
 
He picked the FedEx Cup over The Players Championship.
 
You wont have too many fluky FedEx Cup champions, and I almost proved the flukiness of The Players Championship, said Goydos, a playoff loser to Sergio Garcia at Sawgrass two years ago. You look at major championship trophies and see names on there that make you scratch your head. You wont see too many of those on this trophy.
 
Bigger than The Players? Goydos believes so.
 
Bigger than a major? No.
 
At least not yet.
 
Its an era question, Goydos said. Whos to say the next generation might be thinking the FedEx Cup is bigger than a major?
 
Jim Furyk also chose the FedEx Cup.
 
The system is not perfect; Furyk was among the first to identify that last year rewarded mediocrity. It might even change again. What he likes is the chance for the best players to compete in four straight tournaments.
 
Ultimately, thats what the FedEx Cup is all about.
 
The idea is to get us all together, Furyk said, and let us fight it out.
 
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    Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test

    By Will GrayDecember 12, 2017, 11:30 pm

    One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.

    Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.

    "I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."

    Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.

    "I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.

    Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.

    "Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."

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    Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

    Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

    Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

    “I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

    The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

    “I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

    This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

    The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

    Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

    The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.


    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


    A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

    And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

    The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.


    Masters victory


    Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

    Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

    Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative


    Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ


    Green jacket tour

    Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

    Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

    Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket


    Man of the people


    Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

    Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

    Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief


    Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together


    Ace at 17th at Sawgrass


    Growing family

    Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

    Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018


    Departure from TaylorMade


    Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade


    Squashed beef with Paddy

    Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

    Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'


    Victory at Valderrama


    Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

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    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm