With this weekend's PGA Tour stop, the FedEx Cup Playoffs begin as players tackle the Barclays... but how many of us will actually be watching?
For the most part, one can assume that all golf journalists, bloggers, and other media peeps will keep their attention fixed on all things golf. However, what is the true motivation for the average golf fan to actually watch or attend these last few tournaments of the year? The critics are up in arms regarding the need for a Playoff structure on the PGA Tour... or at least a playoff structure as it currently exists.
In my own opinion, I can see both sides of the argument. For one, many golf fans do agree that a Playoffs on the Tour would be "cool to see", but maybe not necessarily needed. Many critics view the final tournaments of the year as simply a chance for huge purses to be collected by golfers that have already won a ton of money throughout the year. On the other hand, the fact that players are eliminated from tournament to tournament bring more of the "playoff feel" to the tournaments... if even for a second.
Another aspect of the FedEx Playoffs that seems to be a major issue is the fact that, frankly, none of the players in the field need to have played well in a Major previously. To be honest, if a player DID play well in most of the Majors (like Tiger Woods), the FedEx Cup can be claimed even before the last tournament of the year (see Vijay Singh's Cup victory).
The biggest benefit of having the Playoff system on the PGA Tour, however, may be the fact that golf fans now have a reason to tune in to these final few tournaments. While the drama and excitement may have been lacking the past two years, the purses are still huge and only the best golfers in the world are playing in the events. The fairways are still lined with thousands of fans each round, and television ratings are higher for this time of the year when compared to previous PGA seasons.
The obvious question, however, is simple: who is actually benefiting from this layout - the fans, or the PGA?