The Jury is Still Out
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.
'Hungover' Pepperell improbably in mix after 67
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eddie Pepperell’s 11:40 a.m. tee time on Sunday at The Open was a tad early, and not just because the Englishman was heading out more than three hours before the leaders.
Following a third-round 71 that dropped him eight strokes off the lead, Pepperell did what many golfers do after a less-than-stellar round – he drank.
“Honestly, I was a little hungover. I won't lie. I had too much to drink last night,” said Pepperell, who said he went to bed on Friday at around 11:30 p.m. “I was so frustrated yesterday, that today was really, I wouldn't say a write-off, but I didn't feel I was in the golf tournament. Whether I shot 69 or 73 today, it wouldn't have been heartbreaking.”
Pepperell was much closer to the former on Sunday, posting a round-of-the-day 67 to move to within one stroke of the lead held by multiple players as the leaders made the turn.
Pepperell had just a single bogey on a blustery day at Carnoustie and closed his round with birdies at Nos. 14 and 17. It was one of just four rounds in the 60s on a course that had become increasingly difficult with each gust.
With six players tied for the lead at 6 under par, including defending champion Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy, Pepperell planned to wait and see how the afternoon progressed.
“The only hope I have is that it's Carnoustie, and the last three, four holes, even though they're downwind, still anything can happen with obviously pressure and all that sort of stuff out here,” he said. “So I'll have to hang around.”
Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship
Tiger Woods is stalking his 15th career major championship trophy. Follow the action with our tracker to see if he can get it done at Carnoustie.
Tweets by GCTigerTracker
Pros melting down on Twitter as they watch Tiger
Tiger Woods mounted a final-round charge and took the outright lead at Carnoustie on Sunday.
His fellow pros have been watching and tweeting like your average fans.
We're compiling their missives below:
Starting to wonder how many Tiggy is going to win by here........... #isheback— Graeme McDowell (@Graeme_McDowell) July 22, 2018
Tiger is leading the open pic.twitter.com/MbGnJIt1Jj— Tyrrell Hatton (@TyrrellHatton) July 22, 2018
That FW bunker shot by Tiger tho... pic.twitter.com/Fi3GY6AegO— Scott Langley (@Scott_Langley) July 22, 2018
Tiger back doing Tiger stuff.......— Graeme McDowell (@Graeme_McDowell) July 22, 2018
I love you https://t.co/JovVz2clm2— Braden Thornberry (@tberrygolf) July 22, 2018
Omg lesgo @TigerWoods— Willy Wilcox (@willwilcoxgolf) July 22, 2018
Right now, Tiger is like everyone’s ex who we’ve given way too many 2nd chances to, and he has the opportunity to rip your heart right out of your chest but we’re all ok with it because we tend to only remember the good times— max homa (@maxhoma23) July 22, 2018
Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage
NBC Sports and Golf Channel are showcasing nearly 50 hours of live coverage of the 147th Open. Missed anything? Well, you can catch up right here. Click on the links below for replays from Carnoustie, broken down into daily segments:
Saturday, Day 3 (Times ET)
7AM-3PM (Watch): Jordan Spieth fired 65 to move into a three-way share of the 54-hole lead, while Tiger Woods (66) played his way into contention. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Rickie Fowler and Thorbjorn Olesen.
4:30-7AM (Watch): Sunny skies and birdies were on the menu early in Round 3, as Justin Rose made his way around Carnoustie in 64 strokes. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Henrik Stenson and Bryson DeChambeau.
Friday, Day 2 (Times ET)
8:20AM-3PM (Watch): As the skies cleared on Friday afternoon, defending champion Jordan Spieth made a run to try and regain the claret jug. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose and Kiradech Aphibarnrat.
1:30-8:20AM (Watch): On a rainy Friday morning at Carnoustie, Rory McIlroy shot 69 to reach 4 under, while Zach Johnson fired a 67 for the early lead. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Brooks Koepka, Ian Poulter and Cameron Smith.
Thursday, Day 1 (Times ET)
Noon-4PM (Watch): Tiger Woods was up and down in the afternoon, as winds picked up a little and no one could catch Kevin Kisner. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Woods, Russell Knox and Hideki Matsuyama.
1:30-8:25AM (Watch): Defending champion Jordan Spieth got off to a good start, while Kevin Kisner (66) set the early pace. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Chris Wood.