The teeth gnashing and nail biting is over.
Nearly eight months of play has determined the top 125 players who will advance to the post-season.
Each of the next four weeks will reduce the potential champions from 125 to 100 to 70 to 30 to one.
Somehow, though, golf’s post-season, which opens with this week’s The Barclays, just does not resonate like other sporting post-seasons.
Prior to the FedEx Cup Playoffs being created in 2007, the season just concluded with the top 30 money winners advancing to the season-finale Tour Championship. This new system feels contrived and, guess what, it finishes with the top 30 point leaders advancing to the season-finale Tour Championship.
Granted, 95 players are eliminated in the playoff’s first three weeks, but in the end the Tour Championship still feels like just another tournament, except it has a $10 million payout.
But why does golf even need a post-season? And how is it really a post-season if the PGA Tour then conducts four more tournaments called the Fall Series after the Tour Championship?
For more than 100 years, golf was fine without one. A new golf season does not begin with the anticipation of wondering who will win the FedEx Cup, but who will win the Masters, followed by the U.S. Open, Open Championship and PGA.
In even-numbered years, there is more buzz about who will make the U.S. and European Ryder Cup teams than there is about the FedEx Cup Playoffs.
The PGA Tour does conduct a major championship, though The Players Championship is often considered golf’s “fifth” major. In 1994, the PGA Tour created the Presidents Cup, which is a copied Ryder Cup except that it’s the United States versus an international team of non-European players.
If the PGA Tour really wants its post-season to really stand out, then it must return to the drawing
board and create a format that captures fans’ attention and interest.
Because right now, four more weeks of stroke-play tournaments that incrementally reduce the fields and concludes with a Tour Championship that is the same as it ever was just does not work.
Stuart Hall is editor of the Golf Press Association.