I attended my first PGA Tour event this last weekend at East Lake and it was an incredible and enlightening experience. I’ve volunteered at tournaments before, but you don’t get as involved with the game as being able to watch the best players in the world struggling through it. What was so exciting about this game? It was amazing to watch as the 30 best golfers from this year competed for the Tour Championship and FedEx Cup. There were 2 Rookies in the Tour Championship this year, one of whom, Schaufelle, won the tournament this year. There were also a total of 10 players who hadn’t won a tournament this year competing. Every player that came through showed numerous top 10, but mostly top 5, finishes from the season.
What other sport do you get 4 days in a row of the best players/teams competing every week? The Tour Championship being the Final Event for the FedEx Cup brings two levels of excitement. Players competing for the final standings and for the Championship. You can win and lose, or lose and lose, or win and win. Anything can happen, and it did this weekend.
I watched on Sunday as everyone’s apparent favorite, Spieth (based on crowd following), started to mount a comeback and stood only feet away from him as he eagled #10, but it ended up being too little too late. The crowd watched intently the fairway leaderboard on 16 as different people took the FedEx lead multiple times until Thomas ultimately came out on top and stayed there. I saw many up and coming players in the next few years including the consistent Tony Finau (Finished -7 and tied for 7th with Rahm and Spieth, 19th for the Cup) as he played with one of the most consistent players in Matt Kuchar.
The trend towards young golfers is undeniable, with all top 3 finishers in the FedEx Cup graduating High School in 2011 and the Tour Championship winner being a Rookie. In fact, there were 28 wins by 19 players in their 20’s this year. Golf is getting younger. Golf courses need to take that into play as they set schedules and tournaments and marketing efforts.