Although the FedEx Cup is now the PGA Tour's semi-official way of closing the season, we all know better. The golf season never seems to end on the PGA Tour.
In this case, it doesn't. What just wrapped up was a four-event season closing extravaganza called the Fall series. It ended this past weekend, in Disney, where I'm sure Luke Donald will want to visit after winning the money title for the 2011 PGA Tour season with a win.
He already got his picture with Mickey and Donald Duck, so he's halfway to partying it up. But Luke Donald's triumph isn't all you'll get from the Fall Series. What else can you get though?
For those of you who don't know, in order to have full status on the PGA Tour, you have to have at least finished in the top 125 in money earnings for that season to receive your card for next year. There are other exceptions to who gets a card, but the 125 is what the Fall Series is about.
You get to find someone who's just outside and just needs another couple tournaments to break through. And you get to watch and see who Mr. 126 is. This year featured a double bonus in the fight for No. 1 on the money list and No. 125 in the final week. Who doesn't love to see a tournament with high stakes for everyone from the highest ranked to the lowest.
To crack the 125 you had to make about $670,000. DJ Trahan beat out Bobby Gates for the final spot by about $600. Tiger Woods finished in 128, playing only nine events to Trahan's 30.
For those golf fans who constantly complain about never seeing who else is in the field, the Fall Series is the perfect way to satisfy your needs. Up until this year, Tiger was never much of a Fall Series player unless sponsors were involved.
Without Tiger, all of the sudden a five-hour telecast has four hours more of coverage to give to the rest of the field.
What seeing these players gives the fans a chance to see is that these guys don't have guaranteed jobs. In all pro sports, golf is the only one where your earnings are dependent mainly on play. For other more fortunate players, sponsors can alleviate any of those thoughts.
You see everybody in the Fall Series that you never have heard of. The opportunities are endless.
Within those players battling for 125 are a few great stories to hear. One that became quite a talk was Bud Cauley.
Trying to get his card, Cauley needed to play all of the Fall Series events to make it as he had just turned pro. The former Alabama Crimson Tide golfer's father was by his side the whole way.
His father, an ex-Marine, was often shown to the people to show exactly how this family was behind Bud. His father applauds for every putt he makes enthusiastically, then proceeds to walk/run (not jog) to the next hole to watch his son for the entire round.
Without the Fall Series, Bud Cauley has to go through the grueling stages of Q-School when, after his performance, it wouldn't appear necessary to waste one of the Q-School spots for him.
The Fall Series was quite a show this year. And that was without the likes of Tiger, Phil, Rory, Luke Donald and Dustin Johnson in the mix.
How does this happen? PGA Tour golfers are that good, simply put. Kevin Na found his first victory in holding off Nick Watney in the late going of the JT Shriner's Open.
Then came the back-and-forth, back-and-forth, back-and-forth playoff at the Frys.com Open. The people of Frys couldn't have asked for a better ending to the tournament, a six-hole sudden death playoff with the two players throwing up birdies as much as par.
Ben Crane's victory brought Luke Donald across the pond looking for the money title, and that's exactly what Donald did. Had Crane not rallied from way down, Donald would have had a seemingly insurmountable task to dethrone Simpson for the money title and Player of the Year.
Instead, one of the most entertaining four rounds of golf was set up, with two players playing together all the time—the top and second-place money winner.
If you're a fan of the game, you like watching golf. Some people can't stand it, whereas others (like myself) could sit and watch most of the coverage provided and enjoy it.
If you're one of the people who can't stand it, give it a chance. All the options before prove that there is a possibility for a player to appeal to you.
If you love watching, why stop? You have four more weeks in which more of the players have a chance for the prize (1 of 125 spots), and they will fight hard to win.
This year's Fall Series did not disappoint. Tournaments continue, proving there may be light at the end of the post-Tiger era, which no one is aware of when it will end.
Either way the Fall Series provided suspense and joy and gave some insight into the tour. So take a chance next year, watch it.