pgatour Posts

Why Should We Be Excited For The FedEx Cup?

What an exciting 2014 PGA Season we have had so far!  I for one thought the majors were better than ever with Bubba getting his 2nd green jacket tailored in 3 years, Martin Kaymer decimating the field at Pinehurst achieving his 2nd major title, and Rory hosting his 2nd PGA Championship trophy, as well as his 1st Claret Jug.

How do we continue this excitement?  Well, the head honchos at the PGA Tour front office decided in 2007 that we need to ride this excitement well into the fall…

Now that the dust has settled from the “regular” season - all eyes are on the prize with a total of $67 million on the line over the four weeks of this grueling playoff competition.

In case you are unaware of how the FedEx Cup points system works, over the course of 43 competitive weeks, players are eligible to become the FedExCup Champion, which distinguishes not only the best “performing” player over the 39-week season, but also whomever continues his dominance through the pressure of the four-event FedExCup playoffs.

Winners circle: Some dude named Eldrick won the inaugural FedEexCup in 2007 and in 2009 - winning the $10-million top prize.  Others to hoist the trophy include Vijay in 2008, Furyk in 2010, Haas in 2011, Snedeker in 2012, and Henrik Stenson in 2013.

The Playoffs work off a progressive cut system which starts this season at The Barclays in New Jersey with 125 players, followed up the Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston (100 players), and the BMW Championship in Denver (70 players).  It is at this point when a “reset” takes place and the top-30 players are seeded to compete in the Coca-Cola Championship in Atlanta this year.

Current standings as of this entry are relatively crowded for the top-5 with Rory in the lead at 2,582 points, Jimmy Walker with 2,493 points, Bubba with 2,173, Kuch with 1,921, and Furyk with 1,851.

Personally, I haven’t seen this much parity in golf in a long time. I really do not see a clear-cut winner over these next 4 events.  However, if I were to pick one player, I have to go with my gut instinct of Rory. Rarely does a player drive as long and accurate, as well as putt so consistently since 2000-esque Tiger.  To be honest I wasn’t sold on Rory when he switched from Titleist to Nike, and thought he would never come back and be “who he was.”  He is clearly becoming a strong ambassador to the game with his on-course set of skills and off-course swagger.

As for who will really give Rory a run for the money?  I would have to go with Phil, Sergio, and Rickie Fowler.  Those players, while outside the top-5 in FedEx Cup points standings right now, have performed quite well over the last few tournaments, specifically the majors when the pressure is high.  (See: final round of PGA Championship).

Who are your picks?  What do you think about these venues?  What do you not like about the FedExCup system?

The Major That Cemented A New Era

The 2014 PGA Championship was bigger than 1 tournament, it was beyond a changing of the guard, it was a perfect display of what the new era of golf looks like.  The new era consists of booming drives, young polarizing talents, and incredible shotmaking that keeps golf fans on the edge of their seat. Rory’s 284yard 3wood that settled 7 feet from the hole on 10 for Eagle, igniting his round, and Rickie’s 212yard 4iron on 16 that he drew 40 yards over towering trees for a huge par save, are prime examples.

Rory’s stretch of golf in the last 22 days has not only dazzled golf fans, but furthermore, has transformed skeptical onlookers into true believers that the future of golf is indeed bright. The PGA Tour accounts for only a fraction of this $176 billion/year industry, but it is definitely the focal point and driving factor for success in the future. If we can agree on that, then let me explain why my excitement for golf has never been greater.

Look no further than the top10 golfers on this year’s money list. There is a great balance between youth and experience, loved and hated players, but most of all, pioneers for what the future of golf will look like. Led by Rory, who is undoubtedly the best golfer in the world, and rounded out by Jordan Spieth, who had the best rookie season of all time last year. Who is in the middle? Glad you asked.

We have the long ball covered with Bubba, bad boy Dustin Johnson, a cinderella story in Jimmy Walker, funky swinging Furyk, controversial European Sergio, a former #1 Kaymer, and the epitome of consistency in Kuchar. No where in the top 10 are the “big names” Tiger and Phil, but thats OK. In fact, thats a good thing. The industry needs innovation, and so does the PGA Tour. We need new fan favorites, different people to root for, and original talents that do things differently than past legends. Rickie has unrivaled flare, Bubba never took a lesson, Dustin Johnson is Mr. Hollywood, and Rory…well, he’s just incredibly gifted.

“To be the face of golf — or one of the faces of golf — it’s a big responsibility,” said McIlroy. “But at the same time, I feel like I’m up to the task of handling it well.”

Is it too early to say that Rory is the face of golf right now? Absolutely not. He is everything Tiger was a decade ago on the course, and much more honest off the course. He is 25 years old and in control of his destiny to become one of the best golfers ever.  If he didn’t think it was possible to balance the weight of those expectations with the responsibilities of marriage, then he certainly did the right thing in calling off his marriage rather than falling into the temptations that comes with fame and fortune.  It wasn’t a popular move by any means, and he could have handled it better, but he is 25 years old and is still learning the ways of the world. Give him a break.

As far as on the course goes, he is a magician. A talent that is so pure it forces you to appreciate how rare it actually is. He had nothing going for him on the front9 yesterday, but stayed patient, just like he did in the Open Championship. He didn’t force any shots, he simply knew he needed a spark plug, which he got with an Eagle on the 10th hole. He then started flag hunting for the next 8 holes on his way to winning his 4th Major. The leaderboard was so tight that the winner needed to be the best player on Sunday, which is was, and will continue to be Rory if he stays focused in the years to come.

I have to admit, I was pulling for Rickie to win, or Phil to pull off a classic Phil victory despite having a very mediocre year. However, I couldn’t be happier the tournament ended the way it did. Golf has entered a new era, and its Rory’s time to shine.

P.S. - Cool exchange between Rory and Rickie that will get you excited for the years to come http://www.golfdigest.com/blogs/the-loop/2014/08/this-twitter-exchange-between.html

 

Your PGA Championship (Betting) Guide

The last Major of 2014 is already here, and I cannot believe how fast this year flew by! Nowadays more and more people indulge in fantasy pools, bet on the winners, or simply put their pride on the line with friends.  So, here is your official (betting) guide for the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club.

Favorite: Rory McIlroy 

Rory is everyone’s favorite, and for good reason. He has always been a streaky golfer, so with his confidence higher than ever, he is a force to be reckon with. His Nike clubs are finally clicking, he is a birdie machine, and seems to extra focused after his high profile breakup with Caroline Wazniacki. However, he has never played at Valhalla, which definitely can have an impact, so we shall see!

Top Dogs: Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson, Adam Scott

Slick Rick- His track record this year in majors is undeniably impressive. Ever since he teamed up with Butch to get his swing more on plane, he has regained his form that made him a junior prodigy. Masters- T5 US Open- T2 Open Championship- T2. Enough said.

Phil Mickelson- Sure, he has had a down year, and of course he is not playing up to his potential, but that doesn’t concern me. Phil fired a 62 in his last competitive round, which he followed up with TEN birdies in his practice round Monday. Phil is focused on the PGA and is playing well again. He is a hall-of-fame veteran who will come out swinging. Literally.

Adam Scott- His last five major championships: T-3, T-5, T-14, T-9, T-5. He just got knocked down to #2 player is the world so you know he has something to prove this week. Plus, there is no one on planet Earth with a prettier swing.

Contenders: Lee Westwood, Matt Kuchar, Patrick Reed

Lee Westwood- The best golfer never to win a major. Bittersweet indeed. If Lee is able to get over the hump it will mark a year where no Americans win a major, and will be a huge monkey off his back going forward. Westwood has always shined on the big stage, which Valhalla certainly is.

Matt Kuchar- I can already hear the KUCHHHH chants coming from the galleries on Thursday when he gets off to a hot start. He was a non-factor in the Open Championship, but finished T5 at the Masters and T9 at the US Open. Never count out Mr. Consistency.

Patrick Reed- He is getting hot again, he is confident, and is set on making the Ryder Cup team. Reed is someone to keep an eye on and a solid pick to win the PGA.

My Darkhorse: Martin Kaymer

Remember when Martin won the US Open and Players Championship? Yea, so do I. I am not concerned with his string of poor performances in recent weeks, he has never been a good golfer when expectations are high. However, the focus is elsewhere now giving him a chance to surprise everyone again with that sweet swing. Look for Kaymer to make a run at the PGA!

Bushnell Tour V3 Range Finder

New Features:

1. Most Notable Feature:

The New Tour V3 has a new technology called JOLT. This JOLT technology is my favorite innovation with range finders and should be in all laser going forward. Once you hit the target/pin, you feel a little vibration and the yardage pops straight up in front of your eye. Its simple and effective.

2. Most Important Feature:

As for the most important feature, it has to be the newly designed look and feel. This range finder is very easy to hold even for people with shaky hands, like myself. The Bushnell Tour V3 is sleek, and sports a white case with a red bottom, making it nearly impossible to lose for all you forgetful golfers out there.

Pros:

- The JOLT technology makes it much faster than most other range finders.

- Works great for people with shaky hands.

- Can shoot distances to anything, not just pins.

- Extremely, extremely accurate.

Cons:

- GPS watches simplify the process for your average golfer

- It does not show the hole, rather just gives you distance to what you point it at.

Recommendation:

My Recommendation has to be, BUY THE BUSHNELL TOUR V3!! This laser is on point and very quick. I originally was not a fan of laser range finders because I felt they took too long, but not this one. Once you feel the vibration you know you have the pin. It works great, looks great, and will really help lower your scores. Unlike watches, it works great even in cloudy conditions because it does not need any satellites. Speed up your game, and become more accurate.

A Changing Of The Guard In Golf

The 2014 Open Championship felt like a changing of the guard in golf, and to be honest, it was a pretty cool feeling. It goes to show that there is much more to the game than Tiger and Phil going head-to-head or steady eddy Matt Kuchar, Instead, this tournament showcased the names we will be talking about for the next decade to come.

Rory did what he does in Major victories, and that is dominate the field. Sure, it was only a 2 shot victory, but lets be honest, there was no one really challenging him all week. His personal issues seem to be behind him, and he finally looks comfortable with his new Nike clubs. Rory is 25, has 3 legs of the career grand slam, and knows how to turn on an extra gear that only Tiger and Jack knew existed.

Rickie Fowler has sneakily been the best player in majors all year. His T-5 at the Masters was impressive, and his T-2 at the US Open was obviously noteworthy, but The Open was different. His Butch Harmon crafted swing looked beyond sharp, and clearly has proven to hold up under pressure. Even on an off day Sunday, he was able to fire a 5 under par bogey-free round. The world has never been more connected through social media, and the next generation of golfers not only idol this young man, they feel a true connection with him. One day we will look back on ‘Tricky Rickie’ as someone who altered the image of golf.

Sergio Garcia and Tiger went head-to-head back in 1999 at the PGA Championship, in an epic battle that everyone thought would spur a long time rivalry. Well, that never came into fruition, but Sergio is still only 34, and has a ton of quality golf ahead of him. He showed grit, imagination, and incredible passion in his T-2 at The Open. He seems to have his life in order, so only time will tell if this high point in his career will lead to something even bigger down the road.

Matteo Manassero, the Molinari brothers, DJ, and Dubuisson all had notable performances, and are players to keep an eye on in the future, for their own unique styles of play and approach to the game.

Everyone who thought Tiger being in contention is the only way for golf to be entertaining, was proven wrong this week.  There wasn’t a 20 foot putt on the 72nd to win the championship, or ear-numbing roars from the crowd, but the body of work over 4 days by all the young guns in golf showed me, and millions of other fans, that our sport is going to be just fine. It was a pleasure to watch, I’m just upset its over.