The Fall Series, for all it brings to the game of golf, is better than the FedEx Cup. By a lot.
Why? Because, unlike the FedEx Cup, the Fall Series is actual drama. It isn't that "which multimillionaire is going to cushion his retirement by eight figures" drama, it's "which golfer is going to have a great job next season or just a good job." It's "which player will be playing at places like Harbour Town and Riviera, or which will be playing at Hardscrabble Country Club and Midland Country Club?" It's the difference in having a job the next year that will surely make your life a ton better, or driving from town to town hoping to find a good guy on the Nationwide Tour to bunk up with. It's the difference in lobster tail and hot dogs.
Sure, sure, sure, the Fall Series doesn't give us the likes of Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson (hell, it barely gives us Brian Davis and Jason Bohn), but it does give us names that must play well for something bigger than another zero on their year-end finances.
So far this season, the Fall Series has given us an up-and-comer claiming his second victory of the season (Bill Haas), a player that defined an already solid year with a big win (Heath Slocum), a fan-favorite that had made just eight of 23 cuts before his win at the Frys.com (Rocco Mediate) and a guy that made a hole-in-one in a playoff to win a tournament in the dark (Jonathan Byrd).
Why is the Fall Series so great? Because it gives guys a chance to pad their stats, and for some reason, that works in golf. Having a terrible season that could be changed by a great week? Make sure you're in at the Viking Classic. Need a win to just keep your card? Don't be scared to join Justin Timberlake in Las Vegas.
A year ago, a guy that most sports fans hadn't heard of turned pro around this time, and was invited into four Fall Series events. His first as a pro was a tie for seventh. Next, he lost in a playoff. Sadly, the young man was a canceled event away from probably earning his card just through the Fall Series, but the confidence he gained through all of that pushed him through at Q-School, and in case you didn't know, had a good enough 2010 to earn a captain's pick at the Ryder Cup. What did he do at Wales? Nothing more than finish with four straight birdies to snag a huge half point for the Americans. Yep, that guy was Rickie Fowler.
That's drama, and it's why these events, despite the rankings and the viewers and all that, is better than a playoff system invented to make the rich even richer.
You want real playoffs? Try needing a putt to keep your job.