Tag:Accenture Match Play
Posted on: February 22, 2012 9:54 am
Edited on: February 22, 2012 10:44 am

FedEx re-ups for 5 years and even more dinero

By Steve Elling

MARANA, Ariz. -- Crossing another massive item off his to-do list, PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem on Wednesday announced that the mega-money FedEx Cup competition has been extended through 2017 and will include gradual increases in paydays for players.

Speaking for the players on tour: Cha-ching.

At minimum, the extension is worth $175 million based on current sponsorship level of $35 annually toward the pot of golfing gold delivered to players at the end of the financial rainbow. The winner under the current deal receives $10 million at the FedEx finale in Atlanta, one of the biggest paydays in all of sports.

"We're delighted with the opportunity to make this announcement,"' Finchem said, moments before the Accenture Match Play event began at Dove Mountain. "That's become a big part of what the PGA Tour is all about."

Impressively, in the past five months, the tour has secured lucrative and long-term deals with broadcasters CBS and NBC, signed Finchem to a four-year deal, and pushed the FedEx deal along for another five seasons.

Better still, the $10 million paid out to the FedEx winner will almost certainly increase over the coming phase, as will the cash for others in the season-long points derby.

"We will have some growth," Finchem said. "We'll continue to go forward, not backward, in this term."

FedEx quickly jumped on board with the proposal to blow up the existing calendar, start the season in the fall in 2013 and make over the Nationwide/Q-school process as well. That would bring the current Fall Series events into the fold as FedEx series stops, which they currently are not, though it would create a wraparound season similar to the NBA or NHL.

"We're verity pleased with the decision to extend the season," said Mike Glenn, the FedEx marketing chief.

That's not a done deal just yet, Finchem cautioned. The tour Policy Board must sign off on the huge seasonal makeover next month during a meeting March 19 at Bay Hill.

"Clearly it makes the FedEx Cup bigger," Finchem said of the proposal.

Despite seemingly annual criticism of the confusing FedEx points system, Glenn said to company is happy with the current design, given the way the pat few tour finales have played out.

"I can only point to the last two years when we literally felt the winner changed shot by shot on Sunday, which is what the experts would really like to have happen every year," Glenn said. "The drama that plays itself out now at the Tour Championship, and particularly on Sunday, when literally the winner hangs in the balance of the very next shot, that is probably best illustrated by Bill Haas' shot out of the water on No. 17.

"I don't know how much more drama we can get. I think the changes in the point system have really contributed to that. Are there opportunities to improve it further? Perhaps. But we're pretty pleased with where it is right now. "

We're not talking about drama, per se, but clarity, but we'll save that critique for the fall.

As for what's next on his work menu, Finchem laughed. At this point, with the 2013 seasonal makeover seemingly moving toward a conclusion, the biggest items have been crossed off. He still needs some sponsors in selected events and an umbrella sponsor for the Nationwide Tour. The insurance company's contract ends after this season is concluded.

"I'll be happy to lay out for you six or eight key things that are going to dominate a lot of my time over the next two or three years," he laughed.

Posted on: February 21, 2012 1:09 pm
Edited on: February 21, 2012 1:17 pm

Does golf need more match play events?

By Shane Bacon

Admit it, you love match play. Absolutely love it. It takes golf to another level. Instead of playing the usual format (you versus everyone else including the golf course) you are HEAD-to-HEAD against one guy, loser jumps on the phone with their travel agent.

It used to decide one of the majors, is the format to the best in both men’s and women’s golf (Ryder and Solheim Cups) and is what us regular folks play everyday when competing against friends on the links.

So, why in the world is it only once a year?

I know the reason why we only see it in one big event each season. Match play is feast or famine for networks, because if Tiger Woods plays Phil Mickelson in the finals, and all the matches before that, eyes will be glued to the television. If the finals are Ian Poulter and Paul Casey (like in 2010), it will be me, Elling and Nick Faldo watching on Sunday. 

But just once could we forget about the money and viewers and advertisers and all that and just make match play more relevant? It’s a beautiful format that changes the way professional golfers play the game. It brings in a whole new edge to the golf world, and as we’ve seen in the past, some are good at it, and some aren’t (Good? Geoff Ogilvy, Poulter, Tiger, and Casey. Bad? Vijay Singh, Vijay Singh and Vijay Singh). 

If your opponent hits his drive into a Jumping Cholla, you can hit iron off the tee and let him battle with the cacti. If your opponent drives the green, you are most definitely pulling out the big dog to try and answer his feat. Putts are just as much about strategy as they are about the line, and the whole goal is to win that shot, that hole, and honors. 

It gives golf an almost tennis feel. Rafeal Nadal talks in his book about just the point he’s in, and how neither the point before or the point after matters. That’s very similar in match play. Sure, when you play stroke play the shot you’re playing is the only thing you have control over, but it’s your whole round that matters. In this format, you can play the entire hole backwards in your mind, figure out exactly what you plan on doing, and execute it that way in hopes your opponent won’t have the same game plan.

Match play is beautiful, simple and exciting. It mixes golf with the shootout of hockey, the overtime of the NFL and buzzer beaters in basketball. It makes us think of March Madness (the best sports time of the entire year) and has a side comedy factor that one minute some millionaire golfer is out playing to win, and the next he’s figuring out how to get out of the rental agreement on his mansion in the foothills of Dove Mountain. 

I just wish we had it more than once a year. I wish the PGA Championship still went with this format because I think one major should be decided by match play, but I guess for now, enjoying the week and being excited about all the outcomes is the way to go. 

For more golf news, rumors and analysis, follow Shane Bacon and Eye On Golf on Twitter. 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com