Okay, so I think we can all admit that we probably like the FedEx Cup commercials we see when we watch golf on TV, but honestly, we probably don't know what the heck is going on with the FedEx competition besides the fact that Tiger is most likely in the lead (although Steve Stricker took over for one week!). I've decided that it's time to give the FedEx Cup some attention and throw in my own ideas for how to adjust it again for next season.
If you read golf stuff like I do, you've probably browsed through more than a few articles that lament, lambast, or loathe the mystery that is the FedEx Cup. They tell us why it doesn't work or why it's not fair. Apparently to most, even including some tour players, the scoring system is "confusing". This I don't understand.
It's a simple points system actually (better this year than the last two) - based on how you finish you get points, at the playoffs the points get higher, and right before the TOUR championship you get seeded and a new point total is assigned - the better you played throughout the season the bigger head start you get in the final tournament. How hard is that?
It seems like the reason this is so hard to follow and understand is that there are just too darn many lists that mean different things and everyone uses a different one to measure a player. You've got the World Rankings, aka OWGR (now THAT'S confusing!), then there's the official money list (that you follow if you want to see who's going to be exempt next year), we all love to keep track of Major winners (and losers), and then we've got the weekly leader boards combined with an endless list of stats on just about anything you can do on the golf course. No wonder we don't know who's ahead in the FedEx Cup points list!
I think we need to keep in mind the FedEx Cup was not created to determine the best golfer in the world - the money list and OWGR do this - the FedEx Cup is a contest, and that, by nature, encourages elements of excitement or risk reward. I mean, do we really just want to hand over the money to Tiger because he's got more talent in his little finger than most of the Nationwide Tour combined? What's the point in that?
The playoff cutoffs and higher point totals were incentive enough to have Tiger, Phil, and others playing in those early playoff events where in the past they were automatically getting into the Championship so they chose not to play. That was a good change.
The volatility in the points at the end also made it more exciting for the fans and it was definitely a motivation for the players. I think we can debate if Heath Slocum "deserves" to be in the Top 5 (controlling his own destiny) to win the whole thing, but to give him some credit, he beat one of the best fields of the year, so I guess that should count for something.
I think in order for the final event to have any drama there needs to be more people that have a chance to win. I believe you need to reward the strong play throughout the year, but I also think that adding the element of the "hot guy" or "streaky player" is good, too.
With those ideas in mind, here would be how I would set up the FedEx Cup if I were FedEx Cup Queen for a Day -
There would still be a season long race to the Tour Championship, and I would keep the points system the same as they have it now, except the points would double in the first 2 playoff events and triple in the last event before the Tour Championship (these would be 125 field events) - the Top 60 players on the points list get in after the 3rd playoff event and get a chance at the cup (I think 30 is just too small for a final event). But rather than seeding with reset points, players get strokes based on their performance throughout the season. So the points mean nothing once you get to the Tour Championship...the points only determine if you get into the top 60.
Win an event during the regular season? You start the Championship at -1 (win 6, like Tiger and you start at -6!). Win a major - you get -2. Any event you win by more than 5 shots you get an extra stroke, too (Tiger gets another -1). If you don't play in the 3 events leading to the Tour Championship you lose a stroke (+1) for each event not played. Wouldn't it be great to be 6-under par before hitting your first tee shot?!
Maybe this format might help some of the less popular events get a higher ranked player to enter thinking it could give them an easy win and an extra stroke in the Tour Championship. It's a little more rewarding for the Major winners, too. It might have a little less drama without the cuts each playoff week, but with half of the field being eliminated on the last week, double and triple points available, and the loss of a starting bonus stroke for not playing there could be room for a little excitement.
So there you have it! My own little FedEx Cup event. I know, you think I'm a little goofy, but heck, I think it's a pretty neat format! And if I wasn't in the middle of a busy time at work and trying to get my last rounds of the year in before the weather turns I'd be making myself some great little spreadsheets to make this thing shine!
My goal, being FedEx Cup Queen, would be to make it a little less about determining the best player in the world (we already know that), but rather add a little incentive for wins and make the last event something that more than a few people could win...that's something I would want to watch. Because I'll be honest, if Steve Stricker wasn't in the hunt at East Lake next week, I'm not sure how motivated I would be to watch...it's just lucky for me one of my favorites is in the top 5. I think it would be cooler if any one of 20 or 30 guys could be the winner...and it would mean having to outplay most of the season's winners. That sounds like something I'd worth tuning into.
Feel free to share your ideas on the FedEx Cup - anoint yourself King or Queen and give it a shot! Good Luck Steve Stricker at East Lake!!!!!!
Filed under: playoff, Steve Stricker, TIger Woods, Queen, FedEx Cup, points