For Golf Fans, Now Is the Time to See the Tour's Best Several Weeks in a Row
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One of the things that golf fans annually get disappointed with is how rarely they get to see the stars of the PGA on television.
With few exceptions, the tour's elite normally play approximately 20 events by this time of the year. That includes the four majors (Masters, U.S. Open, Open Championship and PGA Championship), the Players Championship and the World Golf Championships events (Match Play, Cadillac and Bridgestone).
That's eight out of approximately 20 events. Tiger Woods plays less than the average, 15 to this point. Rory McIlroy 12, Keegan Bradley 21, Ernie Els 17, Phil Mickelson, 18.
With the eight "big" events taken from those numbers, it's understandable that fans think they don't see them much from January until now.
Well, get your popcorn ready. The game's biggest stars are in the midst of the busiest and toughest stretch of golf they'll play all year.
It started with the Bridgestone a couple weeks ago at Firestone Country Club and then the PGA Championship the next week.
Most of the big boys have skipped this week's stop in Greensboro to charge up the batteries for the four-week sprint to the finish, i.e. the Tour Championship and the Fedex Cup. Bill Haas parlayed winning both of those last year into a cool $11 million.
They'll start the Fedex Cup playoffs next week at the Barclays, which will be played on Bethpage State Park's Black Course. The U.S. Open was played there in 2002 and it played so difficult that Tiger Woods' winning score was three-under par.
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The playoffs then move further up that I-95 corridor to the TPC of Boston, located in Norton, Massachusetts, for the Deutsche Bank Championship. That one has traditionally been a shootout and is the only tournament on the PGA schedule that intentionally finishes on a Monday. That Monday happens to be Labor Day and has always had good television ratings.
Week 3 of the playoffs is the BMW Championship and, like the Barclays, does not have a permanent home. This year it will be contested at the Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Indiana. If the name sounds familiar, it's where John Daly burst onto the scene in 1991 to win the PGA Championship.
The journey ends with the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia. East Lake is the home of legendary golfer Bobby Jones and is the oldest course in the city of Atlanta.
The top 125 players on the Fedex Cup points list compete and that number drops with each event. At the Deutsche Bank, the field will be 100 players, 70 will tee it up in the BMW Championship and the top 30 will compete at East Lake.
It's possible, as Tiger Woods did in 2007, for a player to skip an event if he's amassed enough points throughout the year to be seeded high enough in the playoffs. It's a risky choice and one that's become rare in the last couple years because the playoffs are so strong.
For the fans who follow the playoffs on TV, this is the best time of year because they get to see the best players in the world six of seven weeks.
And, for a special dozen players, it works out to seven of eight when they compete in the Ryder Cup.
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