Gary Van Sickle's Mailbag: FedEx Cup, Woods and Foley

Friday September 23rd, 2011
Van Sickle thinks that due to all of Tiger Woods other problems, it's difficult to judge if swing coach Sean Foley is a good fit.
Fred Vuich/SI

Have a question for Gary? E-mail editor@golf.com or ask it on Facebook.\n

Your thoughts on rules bifurcation? I say limit the size of the sweet spot for tour events. That'll give the equipment companies something to chew on. — John Horsky, via Facebook
Well, Horsky, exactly how would you define where the sweet spot is on hundreds of different club models? And who would do that? The PGA Tour? They don't have the expertise to be in the club-testing business. The USGA? They don't care about PGA Tour events.

As for rules bifurcation, we already have it, so I'm for it. Pros can't use irons with square grooves, but amateurs can, for another dozen years or so. Bifurcated rules on equipment could potentially help everyone. By slightly tightening the limits on what the pros can use, skill could become a larger element of the pro game and we might not need 8,000-yard golf courses. Meanwhile, by lifting limits on what amateurs could use, bifurcation would let equipment companies do what they do best — innovate — and keep making the game easier for all of us chops with bigger- and better-than-ever clubs. Who doesn't want that?

I have a question, Gary. Why? — Dan O'Neill, St. Louis
I guess that's where we differ, Dan-O. You look at the world and ask, "Why?" I look at the world and ask, "Why not?" And then I ask, "When's lunch?"

Hi Gary, is Sean Foley the right man for the job with Tiger? During his previous swing rebuilds I NEVER saw Tiger hit the ball so badly, and his short game used to be phenomenal. Now it's crap! If you look at Foleys' stable: Mahan, Rose, Ames... these guys are far from world-beaters, and O'Hair just left him. Does this guy really know what he's doing? — Anthony, Canada
\nIf Tiger gets healthy enough (and motivated enough) to resume the kind of consuming practice schedule he once relied on, we'll find out if Foley is a good fit. The problem is, that may never happen. Between Tiger's injuries and public trauma and putting woes, there are too many variables to judge the Tiger-Foley team yet. But don't forget this: As bad as Tiger looked this year, if two short putts had dropped at the Masters in April, he may well have won another green jacket. Write him off at your own peril.

Gary, How do the players view the contrived FedEx Cup playoff? It is such a forced, contrived effort to generate buzz. It is simply a money grab. The game of golf is great, it will survive all sorts of calamitous events. This supposed playoff is much too contrived for me. —John P. Lees
To the players, the FedEx Cup is free money. Sure, the winner gets $10 million, but the payoff schedule goes all the way down the line. It's $35 freakin' million to spread around. Step back and absorb that amazing number. Thirty-five million! As Oprah might say, "YOU get a bonus, YOU get a bonus, YOU get a bonus..."

I looked all through PGATour.com but couldn't find this year's embarrassingly large payout schedule. Isn't that odd? Last year, however, 125 players started in the first event and 150 players got bonus checks. That's right, the guys from 126 to 150, who didn't even compete in the FedEx Cup, got $32,000 each. Thanks for not playing, fellas. So while players aren't happy about having to play a lot of golf in a short time (seven events in 10 weeks, starting at the British Open), they'll have to do their bitching while in line at the bank.

Have a question for Gary? E-mail editor@golf.com or ask it on Facebook.

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