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Trial By Fire

Sept. 10, 2007
Sept. 10, 2007

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Sept. 10, 2007

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Trial By Fire

The best way to view the FedEx Cup is as a work in progress

For me, it'simpossible not to enjoy the FedEx Cup playoffs. They're the culmination of alot of hard work that dates back to when I was Tour commissioner, from 1974 to'94. No, the playoffs aren't perfect, as the media and players have pointedout, but innovation always needs refinement and criticism is always part of theprocess.

This is an article from the Sept. 10, 2007 issue

These playoffs area vast improvement over the Tour's first two stabs at a big season-endingevent. In 1978 we moved the World Series of Golf to the end of September (andstarted the 1979 season just three months later). In late September 1986, theyear before Tim Finchem came on as my vice president of business affairs, westaged the Vantage Championship, which was based on a points list and featureda big bonus payout.

Neither succeeded,and of course we heard about it, just as we did when we launched the PlayersChampionship, the original TPC Sawgrass and the network of Tournament PlayersClubs, not to mention the Champions and Nationwide tours--all of which workedout pretty well in the end.

This time around,the gripes about the FedEx Cup winner's $10 million in deferredcompensation don't make sense to me. Players who don't like it should talk totheir accountants. They can't defer very much of their other prize money orperipheral income--they have to take it now and be taxed on it now. In fact, myrecommendation to the players would be to cut purses by 25% to 30% and put evenmore money into this kind of program.

There also hasbeen talk that the Tour and Tiger Woods should have worked together moreclosely to ensure Tiger's participation in all the playoff events. I can tellyou, however, that from Hogan to Nicklaus to Woods, the Tour has never beenable to either dictate or anticipate where a superstar will play. Remember,Tiger did support and promote the FedEx Cup, but he's never going to dosomething he doesn't want to do.

It would shock meif the playoff system didn't undergo some changes. As a matter of fact, italready has: Three of the first four events were originally scheduled to havefull fields. I promise you that those discussions weren't easy. Politically,the toughest thing for the Tour to do is to please all its members, from theelite to the grinders. Eventually, though, everyone saw that a true playoffneeds a diminishing number of players. The desire of the Tour and its playersto improve an already strong series is likely one of its greateststrengths.

TRUST ME

by JIM GORANT

A win by Phil Mickelson will make Tiger Woods careabout the FedEx Cup.

New Math

A week after the Barclays, Tiger Woods finally made itto New York

BOAT TRIP - CLUBS + COFFEE TALK + BULL SESSION + BRONXCHEER = GAME SHOW

PHOTOSIMON BRUTY (BEMAN) COMPANYMAN
Former Tour boss Beman understands that resistance is part of theprocess.
SIX PHOTOSMARC SEROTA/REUTERS (YACHT); ROBERT BECK (CLUBS); COURTESY OF NBC TODAY SHOW; BRENDAN MCDERMID/REUTERS (WALL STREET); JIM MCISAAC/GETTY IMAGES (YANKEE STADIUM); DIANE BONDAREFF/POLARIS (XBOX LAUNCH)