On Thursday, January 4, 2007, on the island of Maui at the Plantation Course at Kapalua, K.J. Choi struck the first-ever shot in the FedExCup. It found the first holes mega-wide fairway and the PGA TOURs New Era in Golf was underway.
Now nearly eight months later, the Playoffs are underway with this weeks Deutsche Bank Championship being the second of four huge events. And yet after all of this time and a full schedule of events from January through August, the reaction to the FedExCup is still very mixed. From the players, to the media, to the fans, there are scores of different views, opinions, and ideas for change. Is this unexpected? I would say definitely not. Is it a bad thing? I dont think so.
Commissioner Tim Finchem and the PGA TOUR Policy Board have long sought to create an end to the PGA TOUR Season like the other major sports all have a culmination of the year in the sport. Major League Baseball, The NBA and the biggest of all, the NFL all have playoffs. NASCAR has The Chase. Prior to the FedExCup, the PGA TOUR season pretty much ended with a whimper at the TOUR Championship in late October.
I think the FedExCup is a good idea. However, it is clear to me that it is much more difficult for the PGA TOUR to come up with the right formula for its season end than it is for the other sports.
Here is the main reason why: In baseball, basketball and football and even in NASCAR, every game or race counts the same. That is not the case with the PGA TOUR and the FedExCup, nor should it be.
Even though the Yankees and Red Sox are arguable the best rivalry in sports, each one of the regular season games they play counts the same as a Yankees vs. Kansas City game or a Boston vs. Tampa Bay. In the NFL, the Chicago Bears vs. the Green Bay Packers is a storied rivalry, yet that regular season game for the Bears counts no more than the one against the Houston Texans. The PGA TOUR is different way different.
Throughout the PGA TOUR regular season are sprinkled four major championships, The Masters, The U.S. Open, The British Open and the PGA Championship. Those four events carry much more prestige amongst the players, media and fans than a regular PGA TOUR event.
Major championship victories define a players career. And along with The Players and World Golf Championships they deliver more FedExCup points and rightfully so. These events remind me a lot of the playoffs for golf except theyre not at the end of the season.
So now that the FedExCup Playoffs are here, opinions, arguments, second-guessing and new ideas are raging. Tiger Woods skipped the first of the four playoff events. Ernie Els has withdrawn from the second. And some of the top layers who have the best chance at the $ 10,000,000 pot of gold at the end of the rainbow have not been highly enthusiastic about it.
To everyone I say this Lets wait until the next three weeks play out then we can talk about the success level of the FedExCup and potential changes. By the way, everywhere I go people are talking about the FedExCup good and bad. When everyone is talking about the FedExCup and the Playoffs thats a good thing!
Thats MY View.
Editors Note: Mark Rolfing, a Maui resident, is one of the leading forces in sports event marketing and production in Hawaii. As NBC Sports award-winning golf commentator, Rolfing continues to cover top golf events such as the prestigious Ryder Cup, The Players Championship and The U.S Open. Rolfing also hosts Golf Hawaii on The Golf Channel. Golf Hawaii, now in its twelfth season is one of the longest running sports shows in the nation.