Tiger Woods won seven PGA TOUR events, including one major, and the inaugural FedExCup Playoffs. Where does this season rank on his all-time list?
Brian Hewitt - Columnist, GOLFCHANNEL.com:
No. 2. Clearly. The only reason 2000 beats 2007 is because he won three major championships that year. I actually think Woods is a better player now than he was then. And when I asked him at the PGA this year, he agreed that hes a better player now than he was in 2000. He also said he expected to be better still in 2008. Scary.
Steve Sands - Reporter, GOLF CHANNEL:
It's not in Tiger's top-3. And that's saying something considering he earned seven wins. But it's about majors to Tiger. 1997 was better because that was his first major. And the years when he won multiple majors are better. When you've reached the height Tiger has reached, it is, and he's admitted this, all about the majors.
Mercer Baggs - Senior Producer, GOLFCHANNEL.com:
Well, we all know that 2000 was his best year -- even though he may technically be a better player today. I'd also argue that 2005 and 2006 were better years, as he won multiple majors during both seasons. I'd rank it in the top 5, but no higher than fourth.
Ian Hutchinson - Contrib. Writer, GOLFCHANNEL.com:
Until he wins a single season Grand Slam, and that's a very distinct possibility with Tiger, everything falls short of his 2000 season. I'm not even sure if this season was better than last year when he won eight TOUR events, including a couple of majors, despite the loss of his dad. What this year and last does prove is that Tiger is getting scarier. Whatever happened to the theory that married life was going to distract him? Now, he's a husband and a father and looking more dangerous than ever.
How would you grade the FedExCup now that its in the books, and what one major tweak would you make for 2008?
Id give it a B, mostly because it gave us Tiger vs. Phil with the same tee time three days out of four at the Deutsche Bank Championship. My major tweak would be subtract significant points for players who miss the cut in the Playoffs. And also subtract significant points for players who dont show up in an event with the exception of players who finished the season (prior to the Playoffs) in the top 10. They should get one bye without penalty. They earned it.
I would give the Playoffs and the FedExCup a C. The competition was excellent. But I think you should have to play all the Playoff events to be eligible for the FedExCup. To do that, I think they should shorten the Playoffs to three events; four is too much to ask - especially with the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and the PGA Championship so close before the Playoffs and the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup so close behind.
I think a B is a fair grade. It easily could have been a failure had it not been for Tiger winning twice, Phil winning once (over Tiger), and Steve Stricker putting up a great fight. It also could have been a resounding success had it not been for a mountain of complaining and controversy. If I could change just one thing (among many) about the FedExCup, it would be the schedule. There should be two weeks between the PGA Championship and the start of the Playoffs. That's plenty of time to rest up and would leave no one with an excuse to skip out.
I would give it a C. What saved the FedExCup was some outstanding golf, like Tiger's performance to finish it off, the Mickelson-Woods showdown and Steve Stricker's longshot excellence. Having said that, I think people are still looking at all of the Playoff tournaments as individual events instead of being part of an overall package. That's the nature of golf. The first thing the PGA TOUR should do is stop calling them playoffs -- the majors are still what counts most. Another suggestion is to base a player's FedExCup winnings on how many tournaments he played. For example, Tiger would win 75 percent of what he could have won after missing The Barclays. Not that it means that much to Tiger, but it may encourage other players to participate in all four events.
Is the Solheim Cup the premiere event in womens golf?
The Solheim Cup to me is a close third behind the No. 2 Kraft Nabisco Championship. No. 1, by far, is the U.S. Womens Open. And if you dont agree with me, ask Nancy Lopez what she thinks. By the way, its still making me a little crazy that theres not a meaningful Cup in womens golf that allows the Internationals to get in on the action. Lorena Ochoa, Karrie Webb and the Koreans deserve a chance.
No. The U.S. Women's Open is. Ask any woman which event she'd prefer to win. Winning a major changes your life, career and legacy. Being part of a Solheim Cup team is fantastic, but nothing in golf is bigger than winning a major championship.
I'm sure any of the 24 women on both sides would rather win a major than the Solheim Cup. But in terms of the viewer, I'd rank it right behind the U.S. Women's Open. I think that is the premiere women's event.
It could be as long as Dottie Pepper is involved and keeps throwing gas on the fire at the Solheim Cup. But seriously, I think the Solheim Cup is just one of several top-tier events. The LPGA Tour doesn't have the same emphasis on its majors as the PGA TOUR, but they are still important. What distinguishes the Solheim Cup is that it's a special thing every other year as opposed to the men's side where either the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup is played each year.
Give the readers something or someone to follow during the Fall Series.
Keep an eye on the top 30 on the money list. Those, not already qualified, will get invites to Augusta National. Several players, secure in the top 125, already have told me that the top 30 is their goal in the Fall Series. Also, players love qualifying for the Mercedes-Benz Championship in Kapalua. Fall Series winners will be going to Maui for that one.
I think the thing to follow during the Fall Series is to see how good the players are on the grandest stage in golf who are not the 'so-called superstars.' The PGA TOUR is the deepest tour in the world and the golf/competition will be exciting.
Nick Flanagan. He won three times on the Nationwide Tour to earn a promotion to the PGA TOUR. He's had to sit in idle while the FedExCup Playoffs were taking place, but hopefully he will be able to pick up where he left off and make a name for himself with the big boys.
There is something intriguing about watching hungry guys scrap for their careers. Another interesting thing will be how many top-tier players show up just to keep their games in shape. Will Vijay play every one of the fall tournaments?