Is Tiger Woods doing a disservice to the PGA TOUR by not playing in the first FedExCup event?
Brian Hewitt - Columnist, GOLFCHANNEL.com:
No. The TOUR would be doing a disservice to Tiger to criticize him for not playing. Tim Finchem said it best Sunday: He is disappointed Tiger won't be at Barclays but he doesn't second-guess him. Put another way: Tiger has earned the right to take a week off whenever he wants. That having been said, the people at Barclays can't be happy and it will make it more difficult going forward for the TOUR to sell the Playoffs to potential title sponsors knowing Woods might not be in their field.
Steve Sands - Reporter, GOLF CHANNEL:
I think the way the TOUR set up the new playoff system it allows players to skip events but still take place in the 'Playoffs'. It won't be a true playoff until players have to play in each event and then are eliminated each week as the number drops from 144 to 120 to 70 then 30. The regular season points total should get you in the Playoffs, then every player should start at zero and be eliminated based on that week's performance.
Mercer Baggs - Senior Producer, GOLFCHANNEL.com:
I don't blame Tiger for skipping, and I even understand why he didn't want to say prior to last week that he was not going to play The Barclays. I do, however, place blame on the system. The system should be as such: it should be designed to force players to compete in all four events in order to win the grand prize. The current system doesn't do that. I'd bet on a change for next year.
Mark Rolfing - Analyst, GOLF CHANNEL:
Absolutely not. The PGA TOUR should be happy that he is playing in the final three; particularly when they need him at the Presidents Cup in Montreal one week after Atlanta.
Who is your pick to win the inaugural FedExCup?
I think Woods will win this thing and I will be surprised if he doesn't win at least one event given how successful he has been at TPC Boston and Cog Hill No. 4. Not just because of (this past week) but because of the last month, don't take your eyes off Brandt Snedeker, who starts at No. 9 on the point standings.
Vijay Singh. He's won at three of the four venues and gets a tournament head start on Tiger. Vijay will win this week and in Atlanta.
If Jim Furyk is healthy, then he's got a great shot. He finishes inside the top 10 of every event he plays, and if he can win one of them, he'll be tough to beat. I'd be surprised if anyone won the $10 million without winning one of the events. I think it comes down to Tiger, Vijay and Furyk.
I like Vijay Singh. With the readjustment of points he begins only 1000 points behind Woods and I expect Vijay to pass Tiger after Barclays. I think it will come down to Woods and Singh in the end.
With the $10 million prize money going to the winners retirement fund, how should he pay out his caddie?
Easy one. Compensate the winning caddie with an annuity equal to 10 percent of the deferred $10 million first prize going to the player. Maybe some of that 10 percent could also go to a caddie health insurance program or retirement fund program
I'd like to see the player who wins, put aside 10% of that annuity for the caddie. What a great retirement plan for guys who don't have that type of security. Regular percentage for the weekly money earned during the Playoffs then put aside a million for the caddie's own annuity from the winner.
Since the player can't officially touch the $10 million until he's at least 45, the TOUR should at least allow him to be able to designate a certain percentage to an annuity or retirement fund for his caddie. The caddie will already make a good sum of money based on his player's play over the Playoffs (prize money won at tournaments is different than the FedExCup payout), but a little bit -- doesn't have to be 10 percent -- of the big pie would be nice, too.
He should establish a retirement account for his caddy and contribute the normal percentage for winning a tournament.
What is the ONE thing you are most looking forward to this week?
It will be fun watching the bubble develop to see who advances from Westchester to Boston. But mostly I want to see if somebody passes the absent Tiger on the point standings. If so, that player will be a target for Woods when he returns.
The one thing I'm looking forward to the most this week is getting the 'Woody Allen Sandwich' at the Carnegie Deli. It's a combination of corned beef and pastrami. New York City is to food what Jack Nicklaus is to golf!
I want to see if any of the top players can get out of the gates quickly with a win and put some pressure on Tiger. I'd like to see Singh or Furyk win -- just to see if it lights a fire under Tiger over the next three weeks.
I am going to be really interested to see just how many players can still realistically win the FedExCup after the first event. My gut reaction is it will be less then 20 players.