Problem More than Phil vs Finchem

By Scott LeeSeptember 5, 2007, 4:00 pm
Editor's Note: Scott Lee is a contributing writer for GOLFCHANNEL.com. He has been covering the world of golf for more than a decade and offers a unique and entertaining look at topical matters in the sport.
 
There is no I in playoffs. There is an O. And a whole lot of zeroes.
 
Apparently, Tim Finchem and the PGA TOUR thought they could just flash an eight-digit payday in front of the worlds top players and theyd come running like college kids to a free Dave Matthews show. But when youve got enough pull to get Hootie and the Blowfish to play your wedding reception, why settle for general admission?
 
Tim Finchem and Phil Mickelson
PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem with PLAYERS champion Phil Mickelson -- in happier times (Getty Images)
Of course, the main admission here should be that, while the concept of The PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup (try saying that three times real fast) is a good idea, the current format is not.
 
First it was Tiger... then Ernie... and now Phil. When your first-name-only star power is skipping The Playoffs, theres a hint that some tweaking might be necessary. According to Phil, he put his two cents into the multimillion dollar discussion, but got goose eggs in return.
 
Whats becoming more apparent as The Playoffs roll on is that, in this game ' in this day and age ' there may not be a perfect system.
 
Thats because the only incentive for these guys to go out and play is more of what theyve already got. There was a time when $10 million could get you Alaska; today, its not enough to buy a top-of-the-line golfer.
 
The individual nature of golf is what makes it so hard to gain their full support for the post-season. Here, there are no teammates to let down if you decide to pull out of a playoff game. In fact, the rest of the FedEx field might never say it out loud, but it wouldnt surprise me if the words Mickelson and withdraw came up in more than one church service over the past few days.
 
So, for the third straight week, a high profile player is a no-show at The Playoffs. For the third straight week, the TOUR is disappointed.
 
(While were on the subject, what exactly was the TOURs official stance on Bernhard Langers decision to skip ALL of The Playoffs in order to play the European Tour? I must have missed that one.)
 
Ty Votaw, the former LPGA Commssioner whos now the PGA TOURs Executive Vice President of Communications and International Affairs, has decided to focus on the positive.
 
'One of the many storylines our fans will be following this week will be who will leave Chicago with the FedExCup points lead,' he said.
 
By my count, it will be the second time in a week that it happens.
 
It makes me wonder if Votaw wishes he was back at LPGA headquarters. Do you think Karrie Webb could give him this kind of a headache?
 
For those who think Mickelson has WDd himself right out of The Playoffs, consider this: If a rested Phil were to win The TOUR Championship at East Lake in Atlanta next week, there are only two scenarios that would prevent him from winning the FedExCup.
 
One involves Steve Stricker winning this week in Chicago and then going top-3 in Atlanta. The other, sexier scenario would have Tiger Woods winning for a fourth time at Cog Hill, and then finishing second to Phil at The TOUR Championship. Woods would then beat Mickelson to become the inaugural FedExCup champion ' by a whopping 20 points!
 
That may be the only way the PGA TOUR comes out of this Playoffs smelling like roses.
 
So until we get Tiger vs. Phil II, itll be Phil vs. Finchem.
 
So Phil Mickelson is out of the BMW Championship, allegedly over his beef with the front office. And while everybody and his senior editor wants to know the super-top-secret reason(s) why Phil is not playing in Chicago, I cant help but wonder why he should play.
 
Money? Hes 16th on the Forbes Top 100 Celebrities list. With a take of about $42M a year, you can bet hes already got a little something put away for the golden years, and theres still plenty left over to add to Amys impressive collection of boots.
 
On that Forbes list, Mickelson ranks right behind David Beckham and in front of David Letterman. And last week in Boston, he played the role of David himself, knocking off Tiger Woods when it actually meant something for the first time in well, ever.
 
Isnt that itself worth taking a week off just to celebrate?
 
Mickelson has cited his kids back-to-school week as another reason for skipping the BMW, and who can blame him for that? Yes, Mickelsons 18th-green family reunions are sometimes cheesier than a deep-dish pizza. Yes, Id much rather see Eric Axley win again, if only for the victory hug. But no, I will not chastise a player for choosing family over golf. Even big time, pro golf.
 
Weve seen it in the past, with the likes of Lee Westwood (2001) and Thomas Bjorn (2003) skipping the Masters Tournament for family reasons. I applauded them then, and I still do. I mean you cant just miss the birth of your firstborn, name him something in deference like Dogwood or Azalea and still expect everything to be fine when he hits puberty.
 
Most recently, Ernie Els backed out of the Deutsche Bank to see his two youngsters off to school.
 
Maybe in lieu of the ten mill, Finchem should be offering a lifetime supply of diapers. Or backpacks. How about a nice Spiderman lunch box?
 
Or, if what Lefty says is right, perhaps the TOUR should have just lent an ear.
 
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Related Links:
  • Phil Withdraws from BMW Championship
  • Full Coverage - BMW Championship
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    Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

    Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

    Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

    As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

    "That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

    Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

    Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

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    Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

    If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

    Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

    But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

    Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

    Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

    Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

    Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

    Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

    Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

    Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

    Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

    Getty Images

    Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

    SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

    Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

    “It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

    Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

    “What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

    Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

    “When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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    Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

    SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

    Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

    Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

    Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.