BMW Championship 2012: Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy Make Playoffs Relevant

Richard Langford@@noontide34Correspondent ISeptember 8, 2012

CARMEL, IN - SEPTEMBER 07:  Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland (L) walks with Tiger Woods on the 11th hole during the second round of the BMW Championship at Crooked Stick Golf Club on September 7, 2012 in Carmel, Indiana.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy are not just carving up the 2012 BMW Championship this week, they are doing what once seemed unfathomable: They are making the FedEx Cup a must-see event.

The world's two most talented golfers entered the third round of the BMW Championship just one stroke off of Vijay Singh's lead for the tournament, and this couldn't have happened at a better time for golf.

Golf is a game of tradition. With the four majors ruling as the unquestioned highlights of the golf calendar for the last 100 years or so, it has proven to be a daunting task to drive up the interest for golf's playoff. 

Beginning in 2007, the PGA has been trying to instill the FedEx Cup playoff format as an important event. They have awarded some serious prize money to the winner, but have still drawn little hype. Golf fans are trained to relax their golf viewing following the year's final major, the PGA Championship. 

This year is changing that. 

Thanks to his win the previous week at Deutsche Bank Championship, McIlroy, after two of the four FedEx events, has the lead in the Cup standings. Tiger, who was third at last week's event, is third in the standings.

This is all setting the table for the first real meaningful head-to-head showdown for the two most visible golfers on the tour. 

Rory's rise to prominence has largely coincided with Tiger's demise into mortality, and while Tiger has made it a long way back towards greatness this season, he has not been a serious threat on Sunday at a major this year.

So, while Tiger and Rory share the season Tour lead with three wins, they have not had their showcase showdown, which is now working out just fine for golf.

These guys are setting up for their first standoff to possibly come at the BMW Championship and for the ultimate title of the Fed Ex champ. This is the showdown that golf fans have been hoping for, and one that will make them pay attention. 

It wouldn't matter if this came at the most mundane tournament of the year. If Rory and Tiger are at their best and gunning for the win, people are going to pay attention. 

The fact that this is happening over a four-event event is all the better for golf. It forces people to tune in, learn about and get excited for the playoff. It gives the title credibility, and sets it up to have a meaningful place in golf in the future. 

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