Day Winning Like Spieth
Fed-Ex Playoffs Changing the Face of Majors?
The other day, I said one of the dumbest things I’ve said in recent memory. I made the comment that for the men of the PGA, all the big stuff was over for the year. Spoken like a true antique, someone who has lived his entire life watching the four majors and assorted other tournaments. Clearly, my mind is not wrapping itself around the last tournaments of the year, the four that comprise the Fed-Ex playoffs. So, why would anyone’s mind have trouble wrapping itself around a prize of 10 million in one fell swoop? Fortunately for Jason Day, he isn’t having any trouble at all figuring it out.
It was about this time a year or two ago that we were crowning Rory McIlroy the greatest player in the game, and we persist despite the fact that he’s not winning like the number one is expected to. Our two-track minds, along with lamenting the ongoing tragedy of Tiger (which didn’t look very tragic at all last week) finally got it that Jordan Spieth was the number one. He only had to win two consecutive majors, and finish high in a third to do it. And now, our glacier-like reflexes are still belaboring Spieth’s new reign, but the statistics say otherwise, and we’d better catch up fast. Jason Day has stepped out of the runner-up role, and is looking for his third consecutive victory. He won the PGA, the major Spieth was supposed to win, and now he’s won the Barclays, the first of four tournaments of the Fed Ex Playoffs, four tournaments that offer an absurd prize of 10 million in the end. In short, Jason Day has done a Spieth. He came out and played hot in the PGA, and just stayed that way for several more weeks. In winning the Barclays, he rolled in several putts of approximately thirty feet for a final round of 62, and finished at minus 19 for the week. He is an unthinkable 73 under in his last five events. Calculate the scoring average by round, and many of us would faint. If Day puts three more great efforts behind him, he’ll be the legend of 2015, and in a worst-scenario, he’s still going to look pretty good.
But wait – isn’t Jason Day the guy who…? No, he isn’t…not anymore. He’s thrown off the jinx, and isn’t looking back. In another important point for the fan, Day’s victories have brought added attention to the four Fed Ex tournaments. With insanely rich corporate sponsorship, they look increasingly like majors all the time, and for players whose minds lean more toward the money than the prestige, they might already be the four big ones of the year.
What would these financial behemoths need to do in order to elevate themselves to major status? Time would help. The powers-that-be in golf love to see tradition when dubbing a tournament a major. The Masters has Augusta, a built-in symbol of times gone by, the British have Britain, and the other two can also find a home in some luxurious and storied setting. The money is there. Bring the mint julips or Scottish coastline, and they’re in. I wonder if anyone will win a career octo-slam someday. Or, perhaps, the accumulated four will serve as the fifth major, the Fed-Ex Championship.
Next up is the Deutsche Bank, followed by the BMW Championship, before going for the last large event of the year, the TOUR Championship. Will it be Rory? No sign of it yet. Spieth – could be, he’s had a great year. Will it be the number one player in the world? Oh, you mean Jason Day. That would be a major win, indeed.