The FedEx Cup playoffs, like the rules that govern the game, may not be perfect, but as the PGA Tour powers through the final turn toward the Tour Championship it is tough not to recognize a post-season, however contrived, that has given us three weeks of power pairings, a peculiar penalty and, if you’re Davis Love III, some painful picks.
Rivalries. Maybe it’s a tad too close for some. Maybe we like our rivalries with a side order of implied distaste and a dollop of mutual distrust. Maybe if Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier would have been chummy Manila wouldn’t have been such a “thrilla.”
But that doesn’t seem to be the way Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy roll.
Last Sunday at TPC Boston during Woods’ post-round scrum with reporters, the Northern Irishman playfully held his cell phone over his head to record the interview which prompted Woods to smile, “Knock it off.” On Thursday the two even agreed to do their post-round interviews together at the BMW and spent much of their opening round at Crooked Stick bantering like a pair of octogenarians playing a Sunday morning four-ball match.
Golf’s dynamic duo is separated by 13 years and 12 majors but there is no mistaking the common bond and mutual respect. Like it or not Woods and McIlroy like each other, at least until Sunday singles at this month’s Ryder Cup and then all bets are off.
Davis Love III. Early Tuesday morning Captain America was strolling down New York’s Broadway Avenue when your correspondent asked how difficult “selection” night was? “It wasn’t really,” he smiled.
That wasn’t entirely true, but at least it was over. According to multiple sources close to Love the call to Hunter Mahan, who did not land one of the captain’s four picks, was emotional. A few moments later Love informed Brandt Snedeker he had made the team to complete the emotional rollercoaster.
“It was more emotional than he thought, both good and bad,” said one of Love’s advisors.
Let the second-guessing begin, it always does. But as Love made his way down Broadway at dawn on Tuesday it was clear he was at ease with his choices – in his mind they were good choices because they were done.
Tweet of the week: @TheChristinaKim (Christina Kim) “Ban, can and damn those things.”
Kim’s tweet was in response to news that the U.S. Golf Association and Royal & Ancient will rule on long putters and anchoring this month. In case you’re still unclear, Kim’s not a fan.
Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)
Luke Donald. He’s not the first person to let a “direct message” get away from him and, to be honest, his take on Gil Hanse’s nip/tuck of TPC Boston’s 18th hole last week was shared by many of the frat brothers, although his not-fit-for-primetime language will likely cost him a healthy fine/donation.
What makes the Englishman’s electronic snafu notable is how he handled the fallout. Donald owned the miscue, he didn’t sidestep the issue or claim someone “hacked” his account.
“I made a mistake, unfortunately. I made an error. I sent a message that was not meant to go out on Twitter, and I take full responsibility,” Donald said following his third round last Sunday.
“I realized it immediately, tried to delete it and tried to move on. Unfortunately it got caught up there, and such is life. I didn't mean to put it out there, and I apologize to anyone I offended, especially Gil Hanse.”
The real travesty here may be that golf lost one of its most-creative tweeters. Donald hasn’t posted anything to his account (@LukeDonald) since Sept. 1.
FedEx Cup. It’s not perfect. Truth is it might never be without a few warts, but the product of late has been beyond reproach.
McIlroy’s victory last week in Boston lifted him into the top spot followed by Nick Watney, who won the playoff opener in New York, and Woods in third, a lineup that sets the stage for a potential power showdown in two weeks at the Tour Championship.
Whatever issues playoff golf may have – exaggerated post-season points and a pre-East Lake reset being primary concerns – the faux “Fall Classic” has been successful at wrenching players out of early hibernation. For that we should all be thankful.
Rules of Golf. These are the facts. During the opening round of the BMW Championship Graeme McDowell, who had holed a 9-iron approach shot for eagle a hole earlier, grazed a leaf while playing out of a bunker on No. 9, his last hole of the day, and was assessed a two-stroke penalty.
“I'm deemed to have touched a loose impediment in a hazard, which is a two-shot penalty,” McDowell said following his opening 68. “Despite the fact that nothing has moved, the lie hasn't improved, I just didn't give the branch enough respect. I've never seen that scenario before.”
Cut Line has, just last month, in fact, during the final round of the PGA Championship when Carl Pettersson ran afoul of the same rule on his first hole which prompted this assessment from Golf Channel’s David Feherty, who was the walking reporter with Pettersson’s group at Kiawah.
“That (rule) is designed so an amateur doesn’t drag his club back and make a channel for themselves. What do you think would happen if a pro did that out there? I think we can account for that,” Feherty said. “Why don’t professional golfers make rules for professional golfers? We’re the only sport that allows amateurs (to make rules).”
Feherty’s emotions may have gotten the better of him at Kiawah, but it is confounding that golf is the only professional sport that ignores intent.