SBD/August 21, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Despite Skeptics, FedExCup Playoffs Bring Added Interest To End Of PGA Tour Season

FedExCup play has bolstered interest in late-season events
The PGA Tour's FedExCup Playoffs began today at The Barclays in Paramus, N.J., and while "most were skeptical at first at the reasoning behind an end-of-season playoff in golf, it really has made the post-major PGA Tour season interesting," according to Shane Bacon of YAHOO SPORTS. Yahoo Sports' Jay Busbee added, "I think that the playoffs are doing what they're supposed to do: bolster interest in a late-season event for a sport that otherwise would effectively shut down until April in the public eye" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 8/20). In Palm Springs, Larry Bohannan wrote the playoffs are "imperfect for sure, but all playoffs are kind of imperfect." The PGA Tour has "done well in tweaking the playoffs to make the four events as good as possible" (Palm Springs DESERT SUN, 8/19). But ESPN.com's Bob Harig wrote the playoffs "do not create anywhere near the tension, the excitement, as other sports' postseasons." Some of that is "due to the nature of the game," as golf's major championships "are its World Series and Super Bowl, spaced out throughout the season." Nothing will "ever top them for importance." There also is the fact that the golf season "never really ends." But perhaps the "biggest issue with the playoffs is the players themselves and their inability to summon the energy and enthusiasm that would seem natural since the season's finish line is in sight" (ESPN.com, 8/20).

IRISH EYES ARE SMILING: In N.Y., Zach Schonbrun writes golfer Rory McIlroy in winning his last three tournaments, including two majors, has "risen from a promising young contender to the PGA Tour’s new face, with Nike commercials and tour-sponsored Facebook chats." McIlroy said, "My life has changed a little bit. But it's great. I'm in a great position, and I'm trying to embrace it as much as I can." He added, "I see myself as a golfer on the PGA Tour that wants to be the best he can be. I don’t see the need to carry any sort of torch. I just want to win golf tournaments" (N.Y. TIMES, 8/21). Also in N.Y., Mark Cannizzaro writes McIlroy is "now the big dog in the sport." That has "become very apparent" during this "remarkable run he is on." He has "supplanted Tiger Woods as the man until further notice" (N.Y. POST, 8/21). In S.F., Ron Kroichick noted McIlroy last week "bailed on the Frys.com Open," the Tour's season-opening event in October. McIlroy had "given tournament officials an 'emphatic' verbal commitment, twice, and allowed them to promote his appearance in numerous online advertisements." But with his schedule "overflowing, he reneged," which is a "bad look." It is "one thing to change your mind and skip a tournament after privately telling tournament officials you’ll be there." But it is "another thing entirely to approve a promotional campaign and jump ship when a better option emerges." McIlroy later "apologized and promised to play" in the '15 event (SFGATE.com, 8/20).
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