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September 29, 2009 8:59 AM

Everything Breaks the Tour's Way

Sunday was a rotten day for us hard-core cynics of the world.

There just wasn't much to rail about as the best player in the world rightfully captured the flawed FedEx Cup, while the people's choice on this day overcame some wrenching off-course issues to win the Tour Championship itself.

When Tiger Woods locked up the FedEx Cup title with his second-place finish Sunday, and Phil Mickelson won the tournament itself, everything came up aces for the PGA Tour's third rendition of the 'playoff' series, proving you can often forget about the bumpy journey, when the destination is all wine and roses.

Woods all but locked up Player-of-the-Year honors when he, er, scored enough points at Atlanta's East Lake Golf Club to narrowly win the yearlong FedEx series. Points, bleh.

But whether the PGA Tour's counting points, goals, birdies, or whatever, justice was done.

Woods, despite going winless in the majors this year, is still the world's best player, and did more than enough over the course of the year to secure the $10 million bonus that went to the FedEx winner -- even if was a lot closer than it should have been.

Meantime, gallery favorite Mickelson was rolling putts in from all over the Georgia countryside on his way to a victory in the series' final event. One can only hope that Phil's flourish was a sign that things with his family are also going so well.

Mickelson's wife, Amy, was diagnosed with breast cancer in May. Only six weeks later, it was announced his mother, Mary, was diagnosed with the same blasted disease.

Mickelson sounded positively bouyant after his round Sunday.
"It feels great to have won," he said. "It's been frustrating as far as the last few months, but I look at it as a fortunate year because [wife] Amy and my mom are going to be great."

Which, of course, is the best news of all.

See what I mean? It was a bad day for cynics.


If you were listening closely this weekend you might have heard that LPGA veteran Sophie Gustafson cruised past Lorean Ochoa to win the CVS/pharmacy LPGA Challenge in a place called Danville, Calif.
It was Gustafson's first win in six years, and kept Ochoa winless in last her last 11 events. Ochoa has dominated the tour the past three years, winning 21 times over that period, so her mini-slump is raising eyebrows.

But most of you probably didn't know that, because most of you probably don't pay attention to the LPGA.

One of the big behind-the-scenes stories in the off-season will be who is picked to run the tour. When Carolyn Bivens was sent packing, or packed and sent her regards in July, the circuit was left without a commissioner, and a bit of a mess on its hands.

There is simply no excuse that a tour featuring talented, attractive players should be languishing permanently in the back woods of the Golf Channel.

The Grill Room firmly believes the tour is a sleeping giant of a sports league if only it were given some good direction. We'll have more on this in the coming weeks...

And one more bit of cynic-busting news from East Lake...
Turns out the weekend TV ratings were nearly double what they were a year ago. The event did a 3.3 overnight rating Sunday compared to 1.8 a year ago. On Saturday the numbers were 2.4 compared to 1.3 in 2008.

Pretty respectable when you consider they were up against ratings-hog football.

Last year, you had Camilo Villegas holding off Sergio Garcia in a playoff.
This year, Woods and Mickelson got loads of TV time. Not hard to figure out what happened.

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