Golf: Defined season finale draws crowds and sponsors

2012-09-14 00:00

SUMMER time is coming to an end in the northern hemisphere, which means the professional golf tours on both sides of the Atlantic are also coming to an end.

Usually at this time of the year, the tours are winding down and the last few tournaments in the United States in particular have weaker fields.

The superstars and leading money earners have just about completed their playing commitments for the season. Attendances for these last few tournaments dwindle and as a result sponsors are not keen to support these events.

Six years ago, members of the United States Professional Golfer’s Association put on their thinking caps and came up with a format that dramatically changed the PGA tour. It gives golf a defined season finale. It is called the FedExCup. The European tour now has a similar format called the Race to Dubai, but most of the top players are playing in the U.S.

The PGA tour runs from January to August over 33 weeks. Each tournament has points to be won. The bigger ones such as Majors and the Players’ Championship earn more points. Points are accumulated and they determine the seeding at the end of the season.

The top 144 golfers are eligible and they play to make the cut over four tournaments in as many weeks. The first cut is down to 120 players, the second is 70 players and finally 30 golfers play for the grand prize, or what the PGA terms a bonus. A total of $35 million is awarded in bonus money and the winner will take home $10 million. It is the biggest bonus in world sport.

Three of the four tournaments have already been played in New York, Boston and Chicago. This week, the final 30 players will play in Atlanta for the honour of becoming the FedExCup champion, and the matter of being $10 million richer.

Sponsors are now extremely keen to be involved in the final four tournaments.

The inaugural season was in 2007 and its popularity has progressively increased. It was a master stroke by the PGA, and the concept exceeded expectations. The last four events are like majors. Never before have all of the top players in the world played over four consecutive weeks.

Bill Haas, who won the FedExCup and $10 million bonus in Atlanta last year, didn’t make the top 30 this year.

Many people will argue that it’s an outrageous amount of money for just hitting a little white sphere into a hole in fewer shots than anyone else.

Maybe they’re right, but it’s great to watch.

From the 19th hole

With cellphone texting these days (SMS as we call it), punctuation is often not used; however, the example below shows its importance.

An English teacher wrote the following words on the chalkboard: “A woman without her man is nothing” and asked the students to punctuate it correctly.

All of the males in the class wrote: “A woman, without her man, is nothing.”

All the females in the class wrote: “A woman: without her, man is nothing.”

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