by Jeff Skinner
Last winter not far from where the PGA Tour has set up camp this week a beleaguered NFL coach was encouraging his team to “stay the course.” Tom Coughlin wanted his charges to stay focused and just get to the playoffs. He knew anything can happen once you’re in and his New York Giants went on a hot streak that ended with him hugging the Lombardi and Bill Belicheck shaking his head wondering how a 9-7 team just beat him.
That’s the playoffs and anything can happen. We can only hope The FedEx Cup Playoffs have some of the excitement of the NFL playoffs but Tim Finchem and his boys have worked hard to re-work the playoffs to try and add some more excitement and to get all the players to show up each week.
You know there’s still some tweaking needed when a player can miss a week and still win the playoffs. In case you have a few questions about how The FedEx Cup Playoffs work the PGA Tour has just what you need: The FedEx Cup 2012 Playoffs Guidebook.
You can’t tell the players without a program and you can’t figure out the FedEx Cup without the guidebook. It has everything you need with sections on how the FedEx Cup Works, Changes to the Playoffs and my favorite, Answers to Key Questions. Here’s my favorite one:
Q: What is the incentive for top players to compete in early Playoff events, given that they are virtually assured of getting into THE TOUR Championship anyway?
A: Being a top seed going into THE TOUR Championship is obviously of tremendous value toward being in position to win the FedExCup. Because points are quintupled in each Playoff event, no Regular Season lead is truly safe — the top points-getters in the Regular Season could certainly be passed by several players prior to THE TOUR Championship if they choose to skip an event.
More importantly, top players generally decide whether to play an event based largely on the significance of the event, the quality of the field, where it falls on their schedule and how well the course suits their game. The PGA TOUR has four important events with stellar fields on top quality golf courses, and we are working toward scheduling them with some breathing room relative to other big events. Given that, we don’t anticipate losing very many — or possibly any — top golfers as long as those factors remain in place.
Maybe they if the Tour made its players read the Guidebook Jason Dufner would realize how important The Barclays is and he would be playing instead of sitting it out this week.
Ah, The Playoffs, it’s not the NFL but then again nothing is. So before the Giants start their defense of their championship for the next few weeks the PGA Tour should put on a pretty good show.