Today is the second round of the the BMW Championship. This is the third leg of the four tournaments in the Fedex Cup Playoffs. I’m extremely torn on how I feel about it.
The Fedex Cup playoffs kind of run like a 12-round tournament, narrowing down the field each week based on Fedex Cup points until the Tour championship, which is a 30-man event. There are no cuts during the BMW Championship and Tour Championship and the strategy is somewhere between doing what it takes to win each tournament and just playing smart enough to ensure that they can make it to the next week.
So you have you realize that considering the nature of the playoffs, there isn’t a ton of fanfare surrounding the winner of the first three tournaments of the playoffs. Even winning the Tour Championship doesn’t guarantee a player the Fedex Cup, which comes with a nice little $10 million payday.
We can see the asterisks building up. The BMW Championship is not a full field event. It sure as hell isn’t a major. Players might be strategizing.
For Tiger’s sake, after all that he’s been through off the course, all of the “almosts” that Tiger has had at basically every major, the Valspar, and the Quicken Loans National, is the BMW Championship really going to be the first one that he wins? We as golf fans can be a little more romantic than that.
Everyone in golf is dreaming about how we can frame Tiger’s first inevitable comeback win. Will it be on the anniversary of another win he’s had? Will it be his 500th major start? Will he eat the same lunch that he had when he won the Masters in 1997?
Everyone wants to tie a nice little bow on the story. An no doubt, a great angle would be if he does win in 2018, because it means that he’s won in his first year back. But to many, including myself, after the last major, the season is over. Sure, the piper needs to be paid to Fedex, but if the $10 million payday (this amount dwarves any other payout on tour by a factor of almost 5) is what it takes to keep players interested, it really says something about the PGA post-season.
Now let me present an alternative.
Tiger was just named a Captain’s pick for the Ryder Cup along with Phil and Bryson Dechambeau. Let’s say Tiger can play well in the Ryder Cup and the US just undresses the Europeans in France. So Tiger’s first victorious success is a team event, cementing him into American golf history even further. Then, a month later, Tiger vs Phil happens and Tiger crushes Phil in Las Vegas over Thanksgiving weekend. So now Tiger can take off the rest of 2018 and head home to Jupiter. Then 2019 is his year. There’s a chance Tiger’s first start could be at the Sony Open in Hawaii, but I think realistically, he will probably open the season at the Farmer’s Insurance Open. It’s at Torrey Pines and the title sponsor is a major sponsor of Tiger’s good buddy, Rickie Fowler. From there, we’re off to the races. The next week is the Waste Management Open, then a few more tournaments in the Southern California area. After a break where Tiger probably won’t play, we have the Florida swing starting at the Honda Classic, only minutes from his house in Jupiter, then on to the Arnold Palmer in Orlando, the Players, and the Valspar in Tampa. And finally, we enter the Masters.
So I won’t break down all of the possibilities, but Tiger’s first full-field win needs to be at a major or at least in Florida/ California. I loved seeing Tiger scorch the course with a 62 yesterday and it was fun seeing the Scotty Cameron draining putts, but this isn’t the comeback win that Tiger fans or Tiger himself needs.
Edit: the Northern Trust Championship and the Dell Technologies Championship both made cuts.
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