The Tour Championship: 10 Reasons No One Cares About the PGA Finale
Second-round play of The Tour Championship presented by Coca-Cola beings Friday afternoon at the East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.
The FedEx Cup field has been whittled down from 125 players at the start of the playoffs to 30 golfers competing for the $10 million purse.
Thursday’s play featured struggles by American rising stars Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson, who will embark on the uphill battle to catch the leaders today.
Paul Casey, Geoff Ogilvy and Luke Donald are tied atop the leaderboard at 4-under-par.
Although the Tour Championship promises to be very competitive, the tournament appears to be lacking a great deal of intrigue.
Here’s 10 reasons why the Tour Championship isn’t worth watching.
No. 10: It’s Not a Major Championship
Sure, the FedEx Cup is the PGA Tour’s version of a postseason tournament.
But the 125-man playoff doesn’t have the feel of a live-or-die playoff.
It’s just another tournament, and many of the best players aren’t even participating.
The Tour Championship has yet to establish the historical footing of Major Championships, and maintains little overall significance at the end of the day.
No. 9: The Press Conferences Won’t Be As Entertaining
Whether it’s Corey Pavin telling the world he respects Jim Gray or Tiger Woods tiptoeing around questions regarding his transgressions, there’s always a lot of lying going on.
Bubba Watson is probably like most charismatic of the competitors this week. But aside from him, there isn’t likely to be any humorous quips or bizarre outbursts in front of the golf media.
Too bad John Daly and Monty aren't eligible to participate in the Tour Championship. Then again, maybe not…
No. 8: Lacking Star Power in the Top Five
Out of the field of 30, five golfers control their own destiny.
Matt Kuchar is first in the FedExCup standings, followed by the enigmatic Dustin Johnson. Charley Hoffman, Steve Stricker and Paul Casey round out the top five.
Of those players, Johnson is clearly the biggest star.
Based on the early returns Thursday and his track record on the big stage, he also seems to be the least likely of the five golfers to win the Tour Championship.
Paul Casey and Kuchar are popular figures, but haven’t achieved true superstardom. Hoffman and Stricker get the job done, but won’t make the masses tune in.
Without star power near the top, the tournament just doesn’t have much viewer appeal.
No. 7: International Starpower Struggling Early
Without Tiger Woods and some of the more traditional American stars in the field, the Tour Championship is also missing some of the more appealing international stars at the top of the leaderboard.
Ernie Els led the FedExCup standings for 22 weeks, but found himself in eighth place heading into the championship.
Els is currently tied for 13th at 1-over-par.
Other international stars including Adam Scott and Justin Rose are also struggling.
Scott is sitting at 4-over-par heading into Friday’s play, and Rose is a distant 24th overall.
No. 6: What’s Up With Bubba?
Bubba Watson’s personality makes him compelling to watch.
However, his play Thursday has him needing to get things turned around quickly. At 27th place, the mountain just might be too steep to climb.
Amid a field lacking an abundance of young stars, one of the brightest probably won’t be shining this weekend.
No. 5: Dustin Johnson Gets Wild Again
Dustin Johnson’s memorable—and controversial—gaffe at the PGA Championship is difficult to forget.
His play Thursday helped remind golf fans that he still has yet to harness his raw talent.
Johnson twice consulted rules officials during his play on the back nine Thursday, and finished his round tied for 20th and 3-over-par.
Despite the extreme length of East Lake being favorable to his strengths, it doesn’t appear he is ready to figure things out quite yet.
No. 4: Is Jim Furyk America’s Best Hope to Win?
Jim Furyk appears to be the only American with a firm grasp on his game, and on the leaderboard in the Tour Championship.
The 40-year-old shot a 3-under-par 67 Thursday to quietly finish his opening round one-shot out of the lead.
Given the inconsistent play and the struggles of the other Americans in the field, Furyk has the best chance of claiming the Tour title.
No. 3: Mickelson Likely To Fade
Lefty’s play has been riddled with ups-and-downs this season, and it seems likely he will face increasing hurdles as tournament play continues.
Mickelson posted a pair of eagles during his first-round play and finished his round at 1-under-par.
Although he has said his health has improved, there is no question he isn’t in his usual form, making it unrealistic to expect him to be near the top on the final day.
No. 2: Tiger Woods Isn’t Playing
Whether he is playing well or playing horribly, Tiger Woods remains the biggest draw for golf purists and casual observers, alike.
Without its most polarizing figure the game has ever known in the mix, the Tour Championship has a ho-hum feel to it.
It’s time for the new stars to start shining, but it probably won’t happen this weekend in Atlanta.
No. 1: Not Enough Compelling Storylines
When you add all the factors up, you get a glaring lack of compelling subplots within the 2010 Tour Championship.
Aside from seeing who wins, there is really no reason to tune in this weekend with college football and the NFL raging on.
Someday, the PGA finale might become a more significant part of the sports landscape.
It just won’t be this year.