Should the PEG Tour FedEx Cup playoffs really be this easy?


OWINGS MILLS, MD – In almost every sport, when the play-off begins, players know the intensity will increase. In football, the defense hits harder. Coaches treat the reversals of their own team as a tragedy. In basketball, you have to fight for every jump. After-season baseball bats are often played as a battle of wills.

In professional golf, something different is developing.

The game seems to be easier.

Boges become rare. The two are almost unheard of. Players are not tested to see if they are can you make birds, it has been tested how many they can do. And it would be better to make them a ton, or the leaders will dust them off.

BMW’s Caves Valley Championship this week, the second event in the FedEx Cup play-offs, was a perfect example. Through three rounds, a field of 70 people made 948 birds and 20 eagles. The field is 527 below the nomination, with a 69.4 point average.

Patrick Cantlay i Bryson DeChambeau, tied for a lead of 21 below, have a good chance of scoring the lowest score (compared to a pair) on tour this year. Harris English shot 25 below in the Champions Tournament in January (although on the par-73 track with five par-5s), and KH Lee shot 25 under the TPC Craig ranch on the way to conquest Byron Nelson in May. Only three players in tour history have ever shot under 30 in a four-round tournament, but one of those times happened during the FedEx 2020 playoffs. Dustin Johnson won the Northern Trust with 11 shots.

What to say about that? It depends on your perspective. The FedEx Cup isn’t big, and no fan would confuse it, despite the PGA Tour’s big investment in marketing these playoffs. But shouldn’t the postseason have a little more teeth than this? Asked what he thought of his third round of 66, Cantlay was pretty honest.

“It was another day on soft, easy golf course,” he said.

The reality is that this could be exactly what the PGA Tour and its sponsors want the postseason to look like. After all, what is likely to distract viewers from the first weekend of football college: The world’s best players pluck birds and eagles? Or the same players fighting for a pair?

“I definitely think the FedEx Cup playoffs are different from the main ones,” he said Rory McIlroy, who sits fourth in an even position below 17. “The tour is – this is going to sound a bit bad, but – I think it’s more of a fun product than the main one. The main ones are set a little differently and it should be the toughest test we face the whole It’s a little different. “

There are many reasons why it’s different, and some of them the PGA Tour couldn’t control even if it wanted to. Temperatures in the northeast have heated up at this time of year, and wet days in this region are often accompanied by night storms. Trying to maintain a course like Caves Valley – when strength is probably the only defense against professionals – was an impossible requirement for a maintenance crew.

“Look, this is an area of ​​land where it’s hot and humid, and the bent grass isn’t going to have the characteristics you want to have a really challenging golf course,” McIlroy said. “I really don’t know where you could go at this time of year where it’s not going to happen without being like the West Coast or the Northwest or whatever.”

McIlroy and Cantlay were not alone in their honesty. When players know that the ball will not bounce much after it lands, it doesn’t matter how long the route will be. Everyone can and will, it will go low.

“Guys like Bryson are hard to beat on a golf course like this because it’s soft. The closer you get, the better,” he said. Sam Burns, which is associated with McIlroy and Sergio Garcia at 17 below.

“It’s fun if you play well,” said Garcia, who hit 67 in the third round. … [But] the course is played quite simply. “

Jon Rahm he was tied for the lead after firing the first round of 64. Then he continued with 66 and 68, and lost his position every day, falling all the way to eighth. Only four players in a field of 70 people- Carlos Ortiz,, Russell Henley,, Max Homa i Collin Morikawa – are currently above nominal. Their combined score: 5 more.

“If it’s soft, you just have to have narrow waterways and high roughness [to challenge tour players]”, he said Jordan Spieth, which has 5 below and is tied for 49th place. “But the waterways here are pretty wide, and the greenery is pretty big. You really have to kind of screw things up to make a specter. … It’s hard to be completely out of position if you don’t do something really wrong.”

Caves Valley, which is hosting the PGA Tour for the first time, is not a trail with narrow waterways. In fact, there are some of the broadest fairways of all the courses that players play outside of the Kapaluai Plantation Course. It also has three par-4s at less than 400 meters. With modern technology, it’s a green light for many players.

“I think we have a lot of courses these days where a lot of fairways cross at 300 and 310 [yards]”McIlroy said.” It doesn’t allow long strokes to hit the driver much, which was a pretty good example last week. Whenever you get a golf course like this that allows big attackers to hit the driver, it’s usually a big advantage. It’s nice to hold the driver in your hand and feel like you can let him take off a bit. “

That was not the case at last year’s BMW Championship, where tough conditions at Olympia Fields produced one of the toughest tests of the year. Only five players finished below face value, and Rahm’s winning result (4 below) was actually closer than Dechambeau’s winning result at the US Open at the Winged Foot. It’s possible to do a rigorous playoff test, but at least this year it won’t come until the top 30 arrive at East Lake in Atlanta next week at the Tour Championship.

“I like harder tests, but I don’t want really hard tests every week,” McIlroy said. “East Lake will be a good example – 12 under wins. I think 12 under is a really good winning result for – 8 to 12 under pair is a good winning result on most golf courses. I think it tests the guys the right amount but also allows you to make some birds and it gives you a chance.I think there is a balance to be achieved.It depends on what we are all trying to get out of the FedEx Cup play-off.I think one part of that is fun.It is certainly I don’t think it will be just like that- it won’t be a Birdie-fest next weeks [in the Tour Championship] as this week. And I think that’s a good thing, especially when you get to the last and first 30. I think the challenge is an important part of that as well. “


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