The finish of the Tour Championship was terrific theater, drama hanging all over the place as the final round unfolded and then showing off in the sudden death playoff between eventual winner Bill Haas and Hunter Mahan.
The tournament could have stood on its own merit but there was the Fed Ex Cup thing to be resolved on the side. Somebody was going to win a $10 million prize for finishing on top of the season-long Fed Ex Cup standings. That was separate from the Tour Championship but not totally, since points won in the championship counted in the cup standings.
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There is so much arithmetic involved in that exercise, even the winner, Haas, didn’t know for sure he had claimed the fortune until his wife assured him he had.
Figuring out who was leading near the finish and then who won is not something you do on your fingers and toes. You need a mathematician and a bunch of possibilities that could give a computer a headache.
The Fed Ex Cup competition is supposed to be a big finish to the season like the World Series or Super Bowl, but it misses the mark. It’s interesting as it comes down to the wire but it’s not exciting when somebody has to tell you who won and why.
There’s no more admirable organization in sports than the PGA Tour but the cup competition is too cosmetic and too difficult to follow throughout the season. Sure, you can look it up but do you know anybody who does?
To its credit, the cup competition does keep many of the top players around when they might otherwise be packing it in for the year.
But there’s just no sizzle to it.
Seeing Haas step into the edge of a pond to his half-submerged ball on the second playoff hole, watching him slash it out with water and mud and the ball flying up a steep hillside and seeing the ball spin to a stop two feet from the hole was awesome.
Was it the shot that would eventually win the money? Didn’t know. Had to wait for the math guy to finish his ciphering.