things up on Sunday with a monotonous 66. By then, most of the other players
were already looking ahead to next year. Stricker was hoping Woods would
continue his benevolent absenteeism. "Tiger taking the [first] week off
allowed me to get up in there," said Stricker, who earned a $3 million
bonus for finishing second in the playoffs. "Too bad he didn't take a
second one off, really."
conceivably come to pass in 2008, when the Ryder Cup begins five days after the
FedEx Cup concludes. Woods and Mickelson took some heat for each skipping a
tournament (Lefty passed up the BMW), but these unscheduled weeks off are
destined to become part of the fabric of the Cup. If any mere mortal wants to
keep up with Woods, he'll probably have to power through all four events,
regardless of the accumulating mental strain. "I was getting to the end of
my rope," Stricker said on Sunday. But shouldn't a series of tournaments
designed to identify the best player push all of them to the limit, or close to
These guys are
certainly being compensated well enough. Over four weeks a jaw-dropping $63
million was up for grabs, more than the entire purse of the 1995 season. The
Tour earmarked $35 million of the pot for deferred retirement accounts. This
saved the players a bundle on taxes but denied them the instant gratification
they are so accustomed to. Woods, one of the less shrill voices, noted that he
might be dead by the time the money becomes available. Given the players'
grumbling, it's a near certainty that next year less of the money will go
toward the retirement plan.
changes should be made to improve the competition. It would be helpful if the
points distribution is tweaked to allow for more volatile movement up and down
the standings during the playoffs. This would add more drama to each of the
four tournaments, especially the Tour Championship, where last week the vast
majority of the 30 players were simply taking up space. And while they're at
it, the Tour's nomenclature could also use some editing. Playoffs imbues the
events with a win-or-go-home urgency that is mostly lacking. Payoffs is more
aside, the FedEx Cup already seems on firm footing, especially with the way
Woods's dominance instantly stamped it with his imprimatur. In fact, the only
time he seemed the least bit flummoxed last week was during the trophy
ceremony, at which he received a crystal concoction for winning the Tour
Championship and an oversized silver thingy for the FedEx victory. As Woods
posed with various dignitaries, a harried, white-gloved official kept switching
out the trophies. "I'm having trouble keeping track of which is which,"
Woods said at one point, but he didn't seem to mind the confusion too much.
It's not often you get two trophies for the price of one.