ATLANTA -- If it was characterized as a post-Ryder Cup hangover, you'd be right on both the philosophical and pharmacological fronts.
The victorious American team banged down carbonated beverages into the late hours on Sunday night, spent Monday trying to recover from the cranial cobwebs of the first U.S. victory in nine years, then trundled off to play this week in the Tour Championship.
|Only Camilo Villegas and Sergio Garcia have a shot of beating Vijay Singh to the prize -- and they have to win the tourney. (Getty Images)|
Yet, like a bottle of pricy champagne left uncorked for two days, we've gone from effervescent and intoxicating to flat and sobering. If professional golf has ever experienced a bigger drop in emotion from one week to the next, feel free to nominate the date, place and time.
What was designed to stand as the spectacular send-off to the FedEx Cup series has gone sideways, a victim of unforeseen fate, an iffy redesign to the playoff points structure and compounded by the dominant play of Vijay Singh.
Gimme an aspirin, will ya?
Walking into the media center on Tuesday morning at East Lake Golf Club reinforced the FedEx flaws almost immediately. There are three life-sized photos of the Tour Championship's most recent past champions festooning the walls -- Tiger Woods, Adam Scott and Bart Bryant -- none of whom are here this week. That's just one of the perceived shortcomings in what was designed to be the dramatic denouement of the season.
Only one winner of a major championship is here, Masters champion Trevor Immelman. Singh, winner of two of the first three FedEx events, has effectively clinched the series money title and killed the mood and mojo.
It wasn't supposed to go down like this, but gone down it has. The Tour Championship's importance has been wrecked by a sad confluence of events that left a tournament designed to be a grand finale into the catering equivalent of a turd in the punchbowl.
Though the top dogs at the tour concede it didn't play out as planned, irrelevant is a word that is not greeted with universal acclamation in tour circles when describing the status of this week.
PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem, after admitting that the system contains a "defect" that twice has failed to produce a compelling race for the $10 million bonus, was bluntly asked if he could ensure the Atlanta event would not be similarly irrelevant in the future. He all but bristled.
"Well, I don't think it's irrelevant now," Finchem said Tuesday during his annual media address. "Like I said, playing for $22 million is not an irrelevancy, the last time I checked.
"I don't know how to answer your question. I can't imagine that the end of the FedEx Cup, with what's at stake, is ever going to be an irrelevancy. So I can pretty much guarantee that."