FARMINGTON, NEW YORK | In a press conference last Wednesday, Henrik Stenson’s first since returning to the PGA Tour after winning a silver medal in Rio, a PGA Tour media official got the ball rolling with this doozy of a question: “Obviously, you’ve had a great season: Open champion, silver medalist at the Olympics. That’s a couple of pretty good things on the resumé. Just talk about your anticipation coming back to the FedEx Cup playoffs.”
I’m sorry, what?
Stenson handled the question with his typical dry aplomb. But who really cares what he said? The nature of the question — “Hey, Henrik, you became a first-time major champion at age 40, then won the silver medal in golf’s emotion-fueled return to the Olympics after a century-long absence, but let’s talk about what’s really important: this four-week playoff system we manufactured 10 years ago to keep fans watching and make rich guys richer” – seemed absurd on its face.
Whether the official was trying to create a sense of equivalency between the Open, the Olympics and the FedEx Cup or simply trying to shift the narrative to the Tour’s marquee month, it didn’t matter. Nobody bought it. Not Stenson. Not the media. Not fans. Not even the press official, who knows better. Unfortunately, this was another attempt by the Tour to create hype and elevate the importance of events that need neither.
The Barclays was great. You had a big golf course, a stellar field, good galleries, chamber-of-commerce weather and a quality leaderboard throughout. The same will likely be true this week in Boston and in the two concluding events in Chicago and Atlanta.