One of our readers has suggested that getting the tour players' attention for the FedEx Cup is simple. Make it winner take all. Actually, that reader's also a playing editor: Phil Mickelson. "Like the World Series of Poker," he says. "I think it would be cool."
Add that to the suggestion box. MulliganStu on Waggle Room takes the idea one step further. Make it winner-take-all and make it match play.
The three "playoffs" are played back-to-back-to-back, but then there's a one-week break - just like the week off prior to the Super Bowl - before the Tour Championship. That week break gives every golfer a chance to rest after at least three straight weeks of golf. It also gives the hype machines a chance to go into overdrive, as they do during the off-week before Super Bowl Week. And there'll be plenty to hype, because the format of the Tour Championship will be so different.
First, the top four players in the FedEx point standings will get first-round byes. That makes those top four spots much more important than they are under the current format. It (along with the week off prior to the Tour Championship) provides incentive for golfers to play all three preliminaries.
Ok, but Stu acknowledges a big issue with his system: The winner of the last event may not be the FedEx Cup points winner. That's a problem. The other problem is (banish the thought) Tiger or Phil or Ernie, even with a bye, might be knocked out early. There goes the finale.
Let me suggest something really radical: Maybe this thing is working. Evidence: Tiger's into it, and yet he's not got it locked up. Stricker and Sabbatini have raised their games and would love to sneak that first Cup away from Tiger. There are a couple of others who could bring down Goliath. So we'll be watching this weekend. (If you went to Michigan, as I did, you might want to catch every minute on Saturday, too).
But a friend of mine who spends some time with the players thinks there is one issue in the "playoffs" about which the players won't talk: pro ams. Put bluntly, he asks, do pro-ams belong if these are really the playoffs? Is there something else we could do for the amateurs at this time of year?
Maybe a version of the East Lake Clinic (or the PGA Championship's champions clinic) is an idea that sticks.