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The Bacon Mailbag: The best playoff pairing for the PGA Championship

Shane Bacon
Devil Ball Golf
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Is this the dream playoff pairing for the PGA? — Getty Images

Each week for the remainder of the golf season we will be rolling out a mailbag, with any and all questions invited from readers and fans around the world. Have a good question you want answered? Hit me up on Twitter at @shanebacon or email me at shanebaconblogs@yahoo.com and we will try to get to it in the coming weeks. Here we go ...

Bacon: A good question and a likely one considering both PGA Championships held at Valhalla have ended in a playoff.

My theory on a playoff, for the most exposure possible, would be some huge, huge star in the game versus either another huge name or an American.

I first thought Rory McIlroy vs. Rickie Fowler, but we saw those two at the British Open and the ratings didn't really pop off the page. Then I thought Rory vs. Adam Scott, giving us the Nos. 1 and 2 players in the world competing for the final major of the year (and for so many hearts!). 

Assuming Tiger Woods is either not going to play or is not going to be a factor, I think the real answer here is Rory vs. Phil Mickelson. This matchup gives us two huge, huge names in the game of golf, two big draws for golfers of all ages, and the nice European vs. American angle that will force a lot of fans to pick a side.

Bacon: I've always felt that the PGA Championship was too soon, and left too big of a gap, between the final major of the year and the first of the next year (8 months between majors? That just doesn't make sense).

The issue with the Tour here is that they have their precious FedEx Cup playoffs and they do not want anything to mess with those, but why not have the PGA Championship be the final leg of the FedEx Cup playoffs, giving people not only a ton of money to play for, but a chance at a major title?

If that is too crazy, give players two weeks off after the Tour Championship before the PGA, meaning it would go down sometime in late September (we could push the Ryder Cup to the middle of October and I'm not sure many people would complain considering it would be more big golf events later in the season).

It seems we have the Masters, take plenty of time away before we get to the U.S. Open, and then churn out major-major-major before golf goes back into hibernation.

I like the idea and think it would be smart, and fun, if the PGA was pushed back a bit longer to give us more time between the big four.

(And as this was posted, the PGA announced that the 2016 PGA Championship will take place in late July because of the Olympics, meaning it will be even closer to the British Open.)

Bacon: I've always said I would love if the PGA Championship went back to match play, the format it used until 1958, but I know with television rights and fear of two no-names playing for the championship would never allow that.

I think the PGA gets a bad rep because it doesn't have one distinguishable characteristic like all the other majors. The Masters has Augusta National/traditions/green jacket, the U.S. Open has that whole thing about being the toughest test in golf (and this nation's championship), and the British Open is the oldest and the one played on a different style of golf course on a different continent.

The problem for the PGA isn't that it's doing something wrong, it's that we view it as the "boring major." That said, what majors have been the most thrilling the last few years? The Keegan-Dufner playoff was great at Atlanta Athletic Club. Martin Kaymer's win at Whistling Straits was also in a playoff, and gave us the whole Dustin Johnson bunker situation that was dramatic, insane and noteworthy.

Before that we had Y.E. Yang taking down Tiger Woods, Padraig Harrington outlasting Sergio Garcia (again), and Phil Mickelson making a birdie on his final hole to win his first and only Wanamaker Trophy.

This championship gives us drama on great golf courses with one of the best fields of the year, so maybe this is a bit more of an "us" problem instead of something the PGA of America needs to fix.

Bacon: Oh, those on the "Tiger Woods is done" train just continue to scream in excitement.

I've become a Tiger defender over the last few years because I really don't think the guy is "done!" as most people seem to believe.

Remember when Tiger went winless in 2010 and 2011 on the PGA Tour and people wondered if the guy would ever win again? Yeah, that chatter stopped when he blitzed the field at Bay Hill in 2012, winning three times that season and five times in '13. Woods was Player of the Year last year, and while it seems most Tiger haters only focus on majors at this point, we can't forget how hard it is to win PGA Tour events, and how hard it is to win multiple in one season (Tiger's heir apparent, Rory McIlroy, now has as many career PGA Tour titles as Tiger had in that stretch).

Maybe Tiger doesn't win another major. Maybe he goes the rest of his career battling injuries and struggling to stay healthy and being scared to hit that driver of his. But just like in 2012, when everyone wondered if we'd ever see the real Tiger again, it took one victory for him to get back to form, and win eight events in two seasons.

If he gets hot at one major and takes that title home, I could see him winning two or three more before his career is done. It's just that first one that's going to be the hardest, as we've seen the last few years.

Bacon: "Hold on, let me see if I can find Butch Harmon's phone number."

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