Ideas to improve the FedEx Cup playoffs

By Jason SobelAugust 28, 2012, 6:51 pm

The FedEx Cup playoffs are the PGA Tour's attempt to crown a true champion after a full season of golf, and while most will agree it is an improvement on the old system, some problems persist. We asked our writers what one change they would make to the FedEx Cup playoffs. Here are their suggestions.


The great Bob Marley used to sing: 'You can fool some people sometimes, but you can't fool all the people all the time.'

I'm pretty sure PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem isn't much of a reggae guy, but he would be wise to heed Marley's life lesson in regard to the FedEx Cup.

As it currently stands, Finchem and the folks in Ponte Vedra Beach headquarters are trying to fool both the players and the fans. They've sold the players on this being a four-event series that rewards the best player of the season; they've sold the fans on it being more of an anything-can-happen shootout.

The truth is, both ideas are a little bit pregnant. And you can't be a little bit pregnant.

The greatest change that the FedEx Cup needs – and always has – is to pick one option. Should it reward the season's best player? Or serve as a fun, entertaining thrill ride for fans?

I'd lean toward the latter, but wouldn't have a problem with either one, as long as a proper philosophy toward the playoff race was established. After all, you can't fool all the people all the time. 


By nearly any measure the current version is an improvement over what passed for a big finish before 2007. Prior to the Tour’s dramatic changeover to the FedEx Cup format, the Tour Championship was little more than a 30-man cash grab with all the built-in drama of a Skills Challenge.

But that doesn’t mean the current postseason is perfect.

Consider, for example, the points reset following next week’s BMW Championship. The math is complicated, yet the reality is simple.

If Nick Watney, winner of last week’s playoff opener at Bethpage, was to clip the field this week at the Deutsche Bank Championship and next week at the BMW Championship his lead over the second-ranked player in the FedEx Cup points race would be 250 heading into the Tour Championship. It is the exact same lead he would have, in theory, if he were to finish tied for 15th the next two weeks.

The dramatic leveling of the playing field was introduced after the 2008 post-season when Vijay Singh won the first two post-season events and needed to only remain upright at East Lake to collect the $10 million jackpot.

The Tour’s mathematicians worked hard on a formula that would maintain the playoff’s competitive integrity and the Tour Championship’s relevance. So far that system has worked, but that could all change in two weeks if Watney continues to play like he did at Bethpage.


Each tweak over the past few years has improved the FedEx Cup, no doubt, but one glaring weakness remains: the field size for The Barclays, the playoff-opening event.

If the four-event playoffs are designed to identify the best player of the season, then how can players such as – no offense – Billy Mayfair, Boo Weekley and Jerry Kelly even qualify for the opener? Hey, the San Diego Padres, Minnesota Twins and Houston Astros aren’t making the MLB playoffs this year. There’s strength in exclusivity.

Even 100 players may be too many for the first event. Does anything about Andres Romero (93rd), Chris Stroud (99) and Roberto Castro (100) scream playoff contender? Those three players combined to post five top-10 finishes this season. Five.

This correspondent’s model would look like this: 75 players in the first event, 60 in the second, 45 in the third, and the 30-man playoff finale.

Why dilute what’s supposed to be a showcase of 2012’s best players? 

Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 8:49 pm

Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.

In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.

"It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’

Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open

Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.

“Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.

“That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’

Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.

The golf world celebrates Thanksgiving

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 6:01 pm

Here's a look, through social media, at how the golf world celebrates Thanksgiving.

Lexi Thompson:

Baking time!!

A post shared by Lexi Thompson (@lexi) on

David Feherty:

Jack Nicklaus:

GC Tiger Tracker:

Steve Stricker:

Golf Channel:

Frank Nobilo:

Ian Poulter:

Tyrone Van Aswegen:

Happy Thanksgiving: Biggest turkeys of 2017

By Grill Room TeamNovember 23, 2017, 3:00 pm

Thanksgiving brings us golf's biggest turkeys of the year. Donald Trump, Grayson Murray and a certain (now-former) tournament director headline the list. Click here or on the image below to check out all the turkeys.

Tributes pour in for legendary caddie Sheridan

By Randall MellNovember 23, 2017, 2:54 pm

Tributes are pouring in as golf celebrates the life of Greg Sheridan after receiving news of his passing.

Sheridan, a long-time LPGA caddie who worked for some of the game’s all-time greats, including Kathy Whitworth and Beth Daniel, died Wednesday in Indian Rocks Beach, Fla., at 63. He was diagnosed in July 2016 with brain and lung cancer.

Sheridan worked the last dozen years or so with Natalie Gulbis, who expressed her grief in an Instagram post on Wednesday:

“Greg…I miss you so much already and it hasn’t even been a day. 15+ seasons traveling the world you carried me & my bag through the highs and lows of golf and life. You were so much more than my teammate on the course…Thank you.”

Sheridan was on Whitworth’s bag for the last of her LPGA-record 88 titles.

“When I first came on tour, I would try to find out how many times Greg won,” Gulbis told Golfweek. “It’s a crazy number, like 50.”

Matthew Galloway, a caddie and friend to Sheridan, summed up Sheridan’s impressive reach after caddying with him one year at the LPGA Founders Cup, where the game’s pioneers are honored.

“Best Greg story,” Galloway tweeted on Thanksgiving morning, “coming up 18 at PHX all the founders were in their chairs. Greg goes, `Yep, caddied for her, her and her.’ Legend.”

In a first-person column for Golf Magazine last year, Gulbis focused on Sheridan while writing about the special bond between players and caddies. She wrote that she won the “looper lottery” when she first hired Sheridan in ’04.

“Greg and I have traveled the world, and today he is like family,” Gulbis wrote. “Sometimes, he’s a psychologist. Last year, my mom got sick and it was a distraction, but he was great. When I used to have boyfriend issues and breakup issues, he was my confidant. In a world where caddies sometimes spill secrets, Greg has kept a respectful silence, and I can’t thank him enough for that. He’s an extension of me.”

Four months after Gulbis wrote the column, Sheridan was diagnosed with cancer.

“The LPGA family is saddened to hear of the loss of long-time tour caddie, Greg Sheridan,” the LPGA tweeted. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and players he walked with down the fairways. #RIP.”

Dean Herden was among the legion of caddies saddened by the news.

“Greg was a great guy who I respected a lot and taught me some great things over the years,” Herden texted to

Here are some of heartfelt messages that are rolling across Twitter:

Retired LPGA great Annika Sorenstam:

LPGA commissioner Mike Whan in a retweet of Gulbis:

Golf Channel reporter and former tour player Jerry Foltz:

Christina Kim:

LPGA caddie Shaun Clews:

LPGA caddie Jonny Scott:

LPGA caddie Kevin Casas:

LPGA pro Jennie Lee: