Considering it was college football game day with Georgia Tech playing NC State just a few miles away and Tiger Woods is missing, the turnout for the Tour Championship was rather good (and much better than I expected). The leaderboard starring Jim Furyk, Retief Goosen, Luke Donald, Geoff Ogilvy and Paul Casey doesn’t hurt either. Now if only Georgia Tech alumnus and Atlanta resident (actually, former as of earlier this week), Matt Kuchar, wasn’t four-over and T23, the Tour couldn’t ask for a more ideal situation.
While it’s a great tournament, I’ve been wondering if fans A) care about the other tournament, the FedEx Cup and B) understand the convoluted points system. I was watching the leaders come through 17 green when I struck up conversation with the three most knowledgeable PGA Tour fans on the grounds (and perhaps the most sober).
What do you guys think about the FedEx Cup? Do you care enough to follow it?
“Oh yeah, it’s great,” said Russell Sears. “If Georgia Tech wasn’t playing, the crowds would be twice the size.”
“We’ll only talk to you if you write something good about Kuchar,” joked Sam Keiffer of Covington, Georgia.
Sears, Keiffer and Virlyn Bryant are fans of the FedEx Cup, but they’re also big golf fans. “I like it,” said Bryant, who watches every PGA Tour event on TV from Thursday through Sunday. “They’re playing for $10 million…the top five in points win it if they win [the Tour Championship].”
I was impressed. But they all agreed the format could be improved.
“Maybe anyone in the top 30 should be able to win and start everyone back at zero when they get here,” said Byrant (who was aware that technically everyone has a shot, but it’s not realistic if you’re not in the top 10).
“After they get to the Tour Championship, it would be fun for them to make it matchplay and throw all the points out the door. That might be fun,” Keiffer mused.
Sears, who had just won a buck off Keiffer for betting Charley Hoffman would get up-and-down from behind the green, took it a step further.
“Make it matchplay with double elimination over the four weeks.”
Others I randomly surveyed were much less knowledgeable about the FedEx Cup system (or just too drunk) besides understanding one of the players walks away with a $10 million check on Sunday.
“I feel like no one cares [about the FedEx Cup],” said Brian Lesesne, a friend I hadn’t seen in four years who recently moved to Atlanta and randomly bumped into (I also used to school him on the course). “Nobody understands it. The only reason people in Atlanta care is because we have the final leg and the 30 of the best players in the world are here.”
His buddy Chip Tallman agreed and added, “I don’t know enough about it, but the playoff system doesn’t work for golf. This isn’t the NBA. It’s more like college football and the BCS system.”
Exactly, but of course, golf doesn’t have nearly the same draw.
Well, at least there’s golf in September even though very, very few care, especially since the coverage will be tape-delayed on Sunday. But for Atlanta-area residents, it’s a wonderful excuse to get together with your buddies and start drinking before noon.
[Photo by Kyle Auclair/insidetheropes.com]