BRANDT SNEDEKER IS now a very rich man, although I don’t think there was much doubt before.
The $10million bonus he picked up for winning the FedEx Cup caps a brilliant season for him – one that got off to a flying start with a win at Torrey Pines in January.
I think we can all see that the player of the year, and arguably even the player of the Playoffs, was Rory McIroy, but the fun and games of the FedEx series is such that nothing is guaranteed until the end.
Which makes you wonder about the purpose of the points race.
Given that points are awarded throughout the season, you would think the aim is to reward to most consistent player over that period of time. But really it’s all about entertainment.
And that entertainment comes in two stages. Throughout the moan body of the season, when players are picking up victories in regular tour events and looking to perform their best at Majors, there’s always FedEx Cup points at the back of their minds.
For some the goal is to make it in to the top 125 and hope for the best from there. For others it is about giving themselves the best shot at the $10 million. During every event, as well as the main storylines, there’s always the race for FedEx Cup points to fall back on and it is a running topic that gives some more context and meaning to the season in its entirety.
Then there’s the actual playoff events themselves. The Majors are always going to be the biggest draw on the calendat, but the playoffs are pretty high profile events that give some drama to a time of the year that would otherwise be pretty irrelevant on the golfing calendar.
At the beginning of the year, there’s always the remainder of the season to look forward to, but once the USPGA Championship, the last Major of the year, is over, we need events like the FedEx Cup to hold our interest.
The Ryder Cup does a similar job, but we are only lucky to experience that every two years. This year’s event, which gets underway on Friday, promises to be another fantastic spectacle.
You would have to think the American’s are favourites given by the form they have displayed over the course of the season. The stats back it up as well – the American team has ammassed more wins this season and hold a lower average world ranking than the European.
But as ever, these events aren’t played in the form book, and a trend of recent Ryder Cups has been the European team’s ability to outperform team USA, depsite note being as highly ranked or winning as many tournaments.
It is a peculiar anomoly, but you only have to look at guys like Graeme McDowell and Ian Poulter to give you examples of Europeans who manage to raise their game for the big occasion. McDowell has had a reasonably quiet season but has performed well in the Major Championships. His Ryder Cup experience from Celtic Manor in 2010 is also sure to get his juices flowing for this time around.
Poulter has had an arguably poor season by his own standards and has only really shown form lat in the year, but the final day of the USPGA Championship where we reeled of six birdies in his first seven holes shows his competitive streak is still there and we know he brings his best to the matchplay format.
When you look at the US team, it’s difficult to identify the players who you can bank on raising their game.
Tiger Woods has been notoriously indifferent at Ryder Cups, although recent his partnership with Steve Stricker in recent years has borne fruit. Phil Mickelson doesn’t have many fond memories of Ryder Cups either.
Teams USA will be relying on the younger guys like Keegan Bradley and Jason Dufner to come out and fight.
Medinah Country Club will be the setting for this year’s reneal and whatever way it goes we can be guaranteed and epic battle. Expect a hostile atmosphere as well – Chicago sports fans are known for their passion, but that only adds spice to an already boiling cauldron.