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Problem More than Phil vs Finchem

Editor's Note: Scott Lee is a contributing writer for He has been covering the world of golf for more than a decade and offers a unique and entertaining look at topical matters in the sport.
There is no I in playoffs. There is an O. And a whole lot of zeroes.
Apparently, Tim Finchem and the PGA TOUR thought they could just flash an eight-digit payday in front of the worlds top players and theyd come running like college kids to a free Dave Matthews show. But when youve got enough pull to get Hootie and the Blowfish to play your wedding reception, why settle for general admission?
Tim Finchem and Phil Mickelson
PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem with PLAYERS champion Phil Mickelson -- in happier times (Getty Images)
Of course, the main admission here should be that, while the concept of The PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup (try saying that three times real fast) is a good idea, the current format is not.
First it was Tiger... then Ernie... and now Phil. When your first-name-only star power is skipping The Playoffs, theres a hint that some tweaking might be necessary. According to Phil, he put his two cents into the multimillion dollar discussion, but got goose eggs in return.
Whats becoming more apparent as The Playoffs roll on is that, in this game ' in this day and age ' there may not be a perfect system.
Thats because the only incentive for these guys to go out and play is more of what theyve already got. There was a time when $10 million could get you Alaska; today, its not enough to buy a top-of-the-line golfer.
The individual nature of golf is what makes it so hard to gain their full support for the post-season. Here, there are no teammates to let down if you decide to pull out of a playoff game. In fact, the rest of the FedEx field might never say it out loud, but it wouldnt surprise me if the words Mickelson and withdraw came up in more than one church service over the past few days.
So, for the third straight week, a high profile player is a no-show at The Playoffs. For the third straight week, the TOUR is disappointed.
(While were on the subject, what exactly was the TOURs official stance on Bernhard Langers decision to skip ALL of The Playoffs in order to play the European Tour? I must have missed that one.)
Ty Votaw, the former LPGA Commssioner whos now the PGA TOURs Executive Vice President of Communications and International Affairs, has decided to focus on the positive.
'One of the many storylines our fans will be following this week will be who will leave Chicago with the FedExCup points lead,' he said.
By my count, it will be the second time in a week that it happens.
It makes me wonder if Votaw wishes he was back at LPGA headquarters. Do you think Karrie Webb could give him this kind of a headache?
For those who think Mickelson has WDd himself right out of The Playoffs, consider this: If a rested Phil were to win The TOUR Championship at East Lake in Atlanta next week, there are only two scenarios that would prevent him from winning the FedExCup.
One involves Steve Stricker winning this week in Chicago and then going top-3 in Atlanta. The other, sexier scenario would have Tiger Woods winning for a fourth time at Cog Hill, and then finishing second to Phil at The TOUR Championship. Woods would then beat Mickelson to become the inaugural FedExCup champion ' by a whopping 20 points!
That may be the only way the PGA TOUR comes out of this Playoffs smelling like roses.
So until we get Tiger vs. Phil II, itll be Phil vs. Finchem.
So Phil Mickelson is out of the BMW Championship, allegedly over his beef with the front office. And while everybody and his senior editor wants to know the super-top-secret reason(s) why Phil is not playing in Chicago, I cant help but wonder why he should play.
Money? Hes 16th on the Forbes Top 100 Celebrities list. With a take of about $42M a year, you can bet hes already got a little something put away for the golden years, and theres still plenty left over to add to Amys impressive collection of boots.
On that Forbes list, Mickelson ranks right behind David Beckham and in front of David Letterman. And last week in Boston, he played the role of David himself, knocking off Tiger Woods when it actually meant something for the first time in well, ever.
Isnt that itself worth taking a week off just to celebrate?
Mickelson has cited his kids back-to-school week as another reason for skipping the BMW, and who can blame him for that? Yes, Mickelsons 18th-green family reunions are sometimes cheesier than a deep-dish pizza. Yes, Id much rather see Eric Axley win again, if only for the victory hug. But no, I will not chastise a player for choosing family over golf. Even big time, pro golf.
Weve seen it in the past, with the likes of Lee Westwood (2001) and Thomas Bjorn (2003) skipping the Masters Tournament for family reasons. I applauded them then, and I still do. I mean you cant just miss the birth of your firstborn, name him something in deference like Dogwood or Azalea and still expect everything to be fine when he hits puberty.
Most recently, Ernie Els backed out of the Deutsche Bank to see his two youngsters off to school.
Maybe in lieu of the ten mill, Finchem should be offering a lifetime supply of diapers. Or backpacks. How about a nice Spiderman lunch box?
Or, if what Lefty says is right, perhaps the TOUR should have just lent an ear.
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Related Links:
  • Phil Withdraws from BMW Championship
  • Full Coverage - BMW Championship