Welcome to Teeing Off, where Devil Ball editor Jay Busbee and head writer Jonathan Wall take a day's topic and smack it all over the course. Suggest a future topic by writing firstname.lastname@example.org, or hit us on Twitter at @jaybusbee and @jonathanrwall. Today, we discuss the horrors of resetting the field.
Busbee: The Tour Championship is here at last, and Rory McIlroy is about to run away with ... wait, what? Points reset? What the hell? Why's that fair, huh? ...oh, right, because a couple years back Vijay Singh had this thing locked up before he ever arrived in Atlanta. So what are your thoughts on the points reset and format of the FedExCup? Worthwhile, or depriving the best player on the planet of his due?
Wall: I can understand the tour's decision to reset the points going into the Tour Championship because it adds a level of intrigue for the final event. Do I think it's fair? Heck no. If you win two of the three events (like Rory McIlroy did this year), you deserve to take a nearly insurmountable lead into the final event. Sure, there's an outside chance the final could be a snoozefest every couple of years, but what you're basically saying by reseting the points is that what you've done over the first three events doesn't matter.
As far as the format goes, I'm not sure what else the tour could do to make it exciting. Maybe cutting down the number of players for each event would add a sense of urgency for some of the bigger names, but I'm still not sure that would help draw eyeballs to television sets on the weekend.
Busbee: The irony of us having this discussion is that we're brushing off the fact that this is the most stacked leaderboard you could possibly imagine. Everybody who is somebody will be at East Lake, pretty much, and you've got the three hottest names in golf ranked 1, 2 and 4. That's not bad for a starting lineup.
The problem is the entire format. Multiweek golf events, whether it's the Tour Championship, the world rankings or the money list, just aren't constructed for bursts of supreme excellence. It'd be somewhat like college football ranking teams based entirely on how badly they beat their competition, and carrying that point total over from week to week. So the reset is the best solution possible, I suppose, but that restraint on competition is exactly why multi-event golf tournaments will never have the cachet of the one (weekend)-and-done majors.
Unless...got any ideas on how to juice up the drama any more artificially than we already have?
Wall: I'm not sure how much drama and intrigue it would add to the event, but I wouldn't mind seeing the tour zero out the points following the Wyndham, thereby putting all 125 players on equal ground going into the Barclays. You wouldn't see guys skip one of the first two events, and you'd add that sense of urgency that seems to be missing from the start of the playoffs. Does that idea make me a hypocrite because I just blasted the points reset after each FedExCup event? Maybe. Regardless, I think this idea could help spice things up bit.
Another idea? Move the playoffs so they don't run up against the NFL. If you want the FedExCup to be meaningful and something even the casual sports fan is interested in, then you need to run it during a time of the year when the biggest cash cow in professional sports isn't in full swing.
Busbee: Yeah, I'd add the match-play element. Bring in 32 guys, battle royale with the final day being the final four, and then head-to-head. Sure, you run the risk of a Nick Watney-Brandt Snedeker final, but that can be compelling all on its own. Sadly, that'll never happen either; TV and sponsors would have kittens at the thought of Rory or Tiger exiting on Thursday.
All right, you're up. Thoughts on the FedExCup format? Have at it!