Tour Unveils New Playoff System
The FedEx Cup starts next year and is designed to give golf its own version of a playoff system.
This looks more like a free-for-all over the final month of the season.
Points will be earned from the season-opening Mercedes Championships in January through the Carolina Classic at Greensboro, and the top 144 players will be eligible for the playoffs -- the Barclays Classic, Deutsche Bank Championship, BMW Championship and the TOUR Championship at East Lake.
PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem said players will be mathematically eliminated after each playoff event, although those players can continue to tee it up in the $7 million events. The field will be reduced to 30 players, as always, for the TOUR Championship, and the player with the most points earns $10 million.
Still to be decided is whether the payoff will be in cash or paid into a deferred compensation account.
'The FedEx Cup and new playoff system on the PGA TOUR truly usher in an exciting new era in golf, and establish a new measurement of success on the PGA TOUR,' Finchem said.
The system has been compared with NASCAR's new 'Chase for the Championship,' in which the title is determined by the final 10 races of the stock-car circuit.
Finchem used a baseball analogy during a press conference in New York.
Woods and Vijay Singh are the only players in the last 50 years to have won nine times in a season; Woods won three majors during his record-breaking 2000 season. Under the new points system, he would have only a slim margin over the rest of the field going into the PGA TOUR playoffs.
'In a couple of cases, I've had a follow-up question, 'Do you think that's fair?'' Finchem said. 'And my response is if the New York Yankees win 115 games and win the American League East, they start over. And every player with whom I've had that conversation's response to that is, 'I get it, I get it, it's great. Let's tee it up.' Which is what you would expect from players at that level.'
Points will be distributed to the top 70 and ties, similar to how money is doled out at tournaments. PGA TOUR events will be worth a total of 25,000 points, with 27,500 points available at the four majors and The Players Championship, and 26,250 points at the World Golf Championships. Tournaments held the same week as majors of WGC events will be worth 12,500 points.
A player who wins a PGA TOUR event will get 4,500 points, compared with 675 points for 10th place.
The regular season ends a week after the PGA Championship, at the Carolina Classic, and the points are reset.
The leader will start the playoffs with a slim advantage -- 100,000 points, compared with 99,000 points for the player in second player. The drop-off is 500 points for every place through No. 5, 250 points through No. 10, 150 points through No. 30, and 75-point reductions for every place through No. 144.
For the final four events in the playoffs, the winner gets 9,000 points; it is slightly higher at the TOUR Championship.
Finchem said it was mathematically possible for someone to clinch the FedEx Cup before the TOUR Championship, but unlikely.
The playoffs are designed to give golf a definitive end to its season, when it can crown the FedEx Cup champion. It also should mean that the top players will be competing every week, which is rare on the PGA TOUR beyond the majors.
But whether the public buys it into remains to be seen.
Success in golf has been determined by the four majors for the last 50 years, and that is not likely to change. The tour sent out a release that included quotes from Woods, Mickelson and Ernie Els, among others.
'It has the top players playing against each other, which is much more exciting product for the fans,' Mickelson said.
Mickelson did not play in the TOUR Championship last year, and he usually shuts down his schedule after the majors. He is likely to play all the FedEx Cup playoff events next year, as is Woods and the other top players.
Still, the PGA TOUR usually only gives away money -- not points -- so this might require an adjustment.
'We're still kind of in the learning process,' J.J. Henry said from the Buick Championship. 'Who knows, really? I'm sure there's going to be little things we're going to have to do here and there to tweak it as we go along, but I think it will be great.'
One thing sure to get few complaints is the money.
Along with the $7 million pursue from the final four events, the playoffs have a $35 million bonus pool that pays $10 million to the winner, $3 million to the runner-up, $2 million for third, $1.5 million for fourth and $1 million for fifth place. The rest of the $18 million will be paid out to the 144th spot.
Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge
ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.
The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.
They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.
Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.
Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.
Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.
''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''
The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.
In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''
Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.
Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia
Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.
Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.
Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.
Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.
It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.
The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.
Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son
ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.
Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.
''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''
They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.
''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''
Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.
''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''
Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.
Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.
Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.
Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?
Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.
Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”
Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.
Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.
The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.