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Gorman vs. Geary by Tom Gorman and Tim Geary

q. What’s your choice?

Is the FedExCup a Bust? by Tom Gorman

YES. Admit it, golf nation. Do your ears perk up when Jim Nantz tells you how many FedExCup points Ernie Els stands to win if he finishes in the top-10 at the Duetsche Bank Championship? Are your eyes glued to the screen when they show the standings? If one golf fan in 10,000 said yes, I’d be surprised! In fact, I would wager a C-note that the average golf fan, even one who flips on the Golf Channel a couple times a week, is clueless when it come to knowing anything about the FedExCup? What is it? How are points counted? Is it really a playoff? Who won the first FedExCup? Is there a $10 million dollar bonus? During the summer of 2006, when the PGA Tour announced that the FedExCup is important and will inject a season-ending playoff system to the September and October golf calendar, the confusion started, and continues today. First, let’s try to define the expensive, failed experiment known as the FedExCup. It is four tournaments, 125 players and one goal – to crown the PGA Tour’s latest filthy, rich champion, since the winner receives a $10 million bonus. Now entering its fourth boring year, players earn a spot by virtue of being one of the top 125 players on the regular season’s FedExCup points list, which mysterious formula changes every year, so much that even the players don’t know how to keep track of points. If there is one skill that PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem has been good at since he took over in 1994 that is convincing corporate America to invest over $250 million in PGA Tour purses. In this case, behemoth Federal Express, the world’s #1 express transportation provider, delivering about 3.5 million packages daily to more than 220 countries, is the sucker. Ranked # 60 on the Fortune 500 with over $35 billion in annual revenue, Federal Express shells out $35 million to self-promote an irrelevant, silly cup. Golf does not need another cup. There are too many already with the Ryder Cup, Presidents Cup, Solheim Cup, Tavistock Cup and others. Federal Express does some dumb things like investing heavily in NASCAR, a total losers sport, and other major professional sports, but that will end soon. In July 2006, when the PGA Tour & FedEx an-

nounced the $200-million-plus deal, the stock was trading at a brisk $110 share. In April 2009, the stock fell to a shocking $55 share. Can you spell re-c-e-s-s-i-o-n? Stockholders want answers, not found promoting a phony cup. Think FedEx wants out of this scam that has been a bust with the public? It’s not a real playoff format despite the PGA Tour calling it the “playoffs”, the point system is complicated and some events are opposite the start of the NFL season, which is largest, most devoted religion in North America. Not that those of us who grind over a $5 Nassau really care, but proof that the FedExCup has been disastrous from the beginning is overwhelming. Tiger Woods won the inaugural 2007 event and expected a $10 million bonus. What he actually got was a $10 million reward that was deferred to his PGA Tour retirement account and he didn’t even play in all four “playoff” events. e titanium–toting Tour millionaires grumbled about the deferred compensation and got Finchem to shake down FedEx, which now pays out the whole $10 mil. When Vijay Singh won in 2008, he won the Cup before teeing off in the final tournament. How does that happen in a legitimate playoff? All he had to do was play 72 holes and sign his card correctly in the elite final field of 40 to win. e FedExCup is bogus! With four majors, three World Golf Championship events, the Players Championship and the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup in any given season, it is hard to know where exactly the FedExCup fits. e PGA Tour proclaims that “together anything is possible” and it is as long as corporate America and companies like Federal Express is paying their bills. When the PGA Tour announces its 2011 schedule in a few weeks, look for smaller purses and fewer tournaments. e PGA Tour slogan should be changed from “ese Guys are Good” to “ese Guys are Rich.” Some obscenely rich, should they win the FedExCup! (Tom Gorman, a member of the Golf Writers Association of America, International Network of Golf and Golf Travel Writers of America, is a Boston-based freelance golf writer.)

68 | New England Golf Monthly | September - October 2010

New England Golf Monthly - September/October 2010  
New England Golf Monthly - September/October 2010  

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