August 24, 2009

We Can't Hear You

If the FedEx playoffs are going to make it in the New York area, golf fans are going to need to pump up the volume

It wouldn't bother me whatsoever if 15,000 people showed up for every round of this week's Barclays, the first of four FedEx Cup playoff events. A postseason needs a little intensity and a lot of noise, and to this point, the PGA Tour's attempts to pique New York's interest in the product has, uh, fallen on deaf ears.

Last year at Ridgewood CC in Paramus, N.J., wasn't awful, but I wouldn't call the environment festive. This year the tournament has moved to Liberty National, which is no more than a long tourist line away from that statue of the lady holding the torch, although I'm guessing you won't have to wait very long to get into the Barclays.

Basically, we're talking about West­chester, the event's home through 2007, with a little more concrete. The Big Apple isn't a bad golf town, but there are too many other things to do, too many people on vacation and not enough space to make things easy and accessible. A U.S. Open 30 miles outside the city? Excellent idea. A playoff series entering its third year, hardly distinguishable from a season-ending money grab fueled by some title sponsor? Good luck.

Next week's Deutsche Bank Championship is everything the Barclays isn't—a heavily attended gathering played on a mediocre course halfway between Providence, R.I., and Boston. The place rocks with enthusiasm despite an almost rural setting on the southern edge of Massachusetts, and it's a fun place to be on Labor Day weekend.

If this postseason thing is ever gonna fly, we're going to need three more like it, but until Camp Ponte Vedra frees itself from the demands that come with a dependence on corporate dollars, that won't happen. A lot more payoff, a lot less playoff. As for the here and now, if I'm wrong about Liberty National, that won't bother me whatsoever, either.

For more of John Hawkins' opinionated insight, watch the "Grey Goose 19th Hole," Wednesdays at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET on the Golf Channel.