Philadelphia, PA – There are two Cups in our immediate golf future.
One, is on the forefront this week. The other is next week.
Is it fair that most of us care about the second Cup more than the first?
Yes, it is perfectly reasonable to care more about the Ryder Cup than the FedExCup. PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem probably swigs some Pepto when he thinks about it, but it's the way it is.
The Ryder Cup is second only to the Masters anymore in anticipation. The Ryder Cup is not more important than the major championships. But the boom of the Ryder Cup in the last 20 years has made it more important than almost anything in the golf world.
And that really isn't fair to the FedExCup.
Every year, the top five players in the Playoffs points standings can win the FedExCup if he wins the Tour Championship. Three of those men - Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson - represent the marquis in professional golf.
This should be the biggest showcase for the PGA Tour all year. Remember, the tour doesn't run a single major, so this is its baby. Finchem couldn't have imagined a better scenario than these three studs all in the mix for $10 million they don't already need.
But, even as this week builds to the drama of the FedExCup coronation on Sunday evening, most golf fans/media are focused on the Ryder Cup next week.
The reason is not so simple.
First, the Ryder Cup has truly become just that big. There's no way to contain it any longer. The easiest reason is the anticipation is huge. The Ryder Cup only happens every two years.
The tension the Ryder Cup brings makes it more interesting to fans. If McIlroy and Woods are in the final group Sunday for the Tour Championship title and the FedExCup, people will be interested. It's the top two players in the world, who've built a friendly little rivalry.
However, the two will be playing for more money than the average golf fan can comprehend.
If McIlroy and Woods are in the final match Sunday at the Ryder Cup, with just that little trophy on the line, people will care more. Why? There's isn't a nickel at stake and true golf fans care more about two guys battling for pride and national or continental supremacy than they do about two multi- millionaires gunning for more cash.
It's not all about matching sweater vests. Fans love seeing their athletes in the most-intense situations possible. Of course, $10 million is a lot of scratch and will flicker in your mind over a four-foot putt.
But a four-foot putt with 11 teammates, their caddies, wives, girlfriends, a captain, a captain's wife, four assistant captains and their wives or girlfriends is a lot on one's mind. Throw in a few million people caring and it's easy to see your knees shake.
The other problem with the FedExCup, outside all of us subtly resenting that much coin at stake, is that people still don't totally understand it. Yes, McIlroy, Woods, Mickelson, Nick Watney and Brandt Snedeker all win the FedExCup with a win at East Lake.
Do you understand all of the math involved?
It's not really complicated. Points are re-set for the Tour Championship, weighing their Playoffs performances. Is it fair? Might not be.
McIlroy doesn't own a huge advantage after two wins in Playoffs events.
That's a flaw.
Louis Oosthuizen can win the FedExCup without winning the Tour Championship. That means, Oosthuizen can win the FedExCup without winning on tour all year.
That's a flaw.
Those complications hurt the FedExCup and this year's schedule did nothing to help. Having the Ryder Cup the week immediately after the Tour Championship stinks for the PGA Tour, but there isn't much that can be done. In 2010, the Ryder Cup followed the Tour Championship as well.
Scheduling won't get easier in four years when the Ryder Cup comes back to the United States. The Olympics will take a week out of the schedule and everything will need to get on the docket in even more condensed time.
The Ryder Cup might be too much for any event preceding it to overcome. The FedExCup deserves better and it got, thanks in large part, to the European contingent.
Players like McIlroy and Lee Westwood, who shunned the PGA Tour in the past, competed this year. Neither has outright said it, but it's fair to wonder if the idea of playing this close to the Ryder Cup in high-pressure events on difficult tracks weighed on their minds.
These Playoffs have delivered, thanks mostly to McIlroy, but not exclusively. Tiger has contended. Phil has been in the mix. Dustin Johnson, Vijay Singh and Westwood have all factored heavily in tournaments. It's easy to say this might have been the most successful Playoffs to date.
The golfers will state to a man that their focus is on the Tour Championship and it probably is. They know what looms and also that this week at East Lake is huge.
But the Ryder Cup is what people care about right now. It's a shame because the FedExCup deserves better this week.
That being said, if you'll excuse me, I'm going back to watching the 1993 Ryder Cup singles on YouTube.
- The LPGA Tour had yet another tough week when it was in the spotlight. At the Women's British Open, which was re-scheduled because of the Olympics, Friday's play was wiped away due to high winds. The decision was made to play 36 holes on Sunday, which was met by criticism by some in the field. They can stuff it. Morgan Pressel on Golf Channel said that doing that changed the "integrity" of the event. Excuse me, but trying to play 72 holes before even worse weather came on Monday is protecting the "integrity" of the event.
- Jiyai Shin won by a mile, not that anyone was paying attention.
- I'm going to stay with Rory this week. I don't know if he'll win the Tour Championship, but I'll say he wins the FedExCup. It's just too hard to believe he will be so far down the leaderboard that he can't protect his lead.
- Movie moment - Check this out - http://tinyurl.com/9eosoyy. That folks, is Daniel Day Lewis as Abraham Lincoln. Holy I don't know what. That has another Oscar written all over it.
- TV moment - As fall returns, I'm looking forward to the most - 1. "Parks and Recreation" (best combination of hilarity, good stories and acting), 2. "The Big Bang Theory" (love this huge hit although myself, my girlfriend, my Uncle Billy and my good friend Joe Boyle are the people I know who watch it), and, finally, 3. "Modern Family" (has to get really good again after a year- long rough patch, right?).