If you didn’t bother tuning in for or following the last major golf tournament of the season because Vijay had the Cup (and a cool 10 mil) all sewn up, you missed a hell of a tournament to end the 2008 golf season. For all the grief the PGA tour has been getting about the lackluster end to the season, they seem to have gotten the Tour Championship right by getting the 30 guys playing the best golf. It’s tough to deny a guy like Paddy Harrington a chance to compete in the tournament, but getting the top guys who were riding a nice hot streak delivered one of the most exciting tournaments of the year. Watching Phil, Sergio, AK and Camilo Villegas battle it out on the back nine on Sunday afternoon was probably the top moment of the Tigerless tour this year.
Some final thoughts:
1) Next season should be very entertaining, and it’s too bad we have to wait all the way until next April for the Masters. It’s gonna be great to see Tiger come back and battle the aforementioned guys at the highest level. The new group of young talent (led by AK and Camilo) have really established themselves and along with Paddy (and Boo!) just might provide a pretty stiff challenge to TDubs.
2) Camilo Villegas is the man. The guy is going to win a major next year. He gets on absurd birdie streaks and goes through stretches where he is absolutely lights out with the putter, something he always had but never was able to find the consistency to turn in four solid rounds and claim a victory. Well no more, the guy has back to back wins and a ton of confidence to bring into next season. Plus, look at that belt buckle. He may not have the best looking swing, but he is fun to watch.
3) Phil needs to live up to the #2 ranking next season, something I don’t think he deserves right now. The guy can be frustrating to watch, but I always find myself rooting for Lefty. When he competes well and challenges for titles, it’s better for the game of golf. I hope we can be treated to another Tiger/Phil showdown in a big spot next season.
4) The revised FedEx Cup format should be interesting to see. Its great that the PGA Tour is committed to providing a big finish to the season, and I legitimately get pretty excited to watch these playoff tournaments. The system is far from perfect, but they’re on the right track. I’d personally love to see the starting field cut down, keep the current points system, get 30 guys to the Tour Championship then have the winner of the Tour Championship take home the FedEx Cup. Imagine it: players battling it out on Sunday afternoon for $10 million would have a level of intensity similar to playing Red Dog while watching Boise State v. Oklahoma. The tour players would flip when presented with this idea, but isn’t this how a true playoff system should work?
See you in ’09.