What We Learned: Tour Championship/FedEx Cup

By Damon HackSeptember 23, 2012, 11:26 pm

Each week, GolfChannel.com offers thoughts on 'what we learned' from the week. This week, we examine the different ways to win a FedEx Cup trophy and celebrate what the FedEx Cup has done for the end of the golf season.


For all of its quirks and fuzzy math, the FedEx Cup has become a vital and exciting part of the PGA Tour schedule. Yes, the points system could still use a few tweaks. And, yes, skipping playoff events to rest would be heresy to tough guys like Tom Brady and Ray Lewis. But the whole of the FedEx Cup is easily greater than the sum of its parts.

After Rory McIlroy’s eight-shot victory at the PGA Championship, the season somehow got even better. McIlroy and Tiger Woods shared a pairing in three out of four events. Phil Mickelson contended. Lee Westwood and Luke Donald had their moments. And Brandt Snedeker proved that you really do putt for dough – $10 million worth of it (plus the $1.44 million for winning the Tour Championship, but who’s counting?). I can’t wait for the Ryder Cup next week and, of course, the Masters in April.

But know something else? I can’t wait for next year’s playoffs. – Damon Hack

There is no secret formula for winning the FedEx Cup. Tiger Woods won as a culmination of his dominance;Vijay Singh won because he got hot at the right time; Jim Furyk won to clinch Player of the Year honors; and Bill Haas won as a darkhorse in the race. Brandt Snedeker? He was a beneficiary of the system. He wasn’t a dominant player or the hottest player over the past month, nor was he the best player this season or a complete darkhorse. He won because he earned the right amount of points in the right amount of time. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Timing is everything in this game. Snedeker simply proved it once again this week. – Jason Sobel

For all of the kvetching about the FedEx Cup points system, these PGA Tour playoffs continue to produce one of its intended goals: meaningful golf in autumn – a time of year that has always been dominated by football games and baseball playoff races. Sure, Brandt Snedeker sucked much of the drama out of the Tour Championship with a superb back-nine Sunday, and the final-round ratings won’t set Nielsen records, but so what? These FedEx Cup playoffs, now in their sixth year, were great theater, perhaps the best yet. Rory won twice. Tiger contended throughout. A popular champion was crowned. Another millionaire became $11.44 million richer. Maybe we’ll never come to accept the various permutations of the points race, and maybe there are more dramatic (and less confusing) ways to determine an overall winner, but this format isn’t half-bad. It sure beats the alternative: meaningless golf in autumn. – Ryan Lavner

That the FedEx Cup math isn’t perfect, it may never be, but the playoffs continue to produce compelling golf where before there was none, bringing together the game’s top players and generating drama, however contrived. Take it from Rory McIlroy, who has good reason to nitpick considering the pre-East Lake reset cost him $10 million. “It’s just the way it is. I’m not going to criticize the format. You have to play well every week,” he said. - Rex Hoggard

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McCoy earns medalist honors at Web.com Q-School

By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Web.com Tour Q-School.

McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Web.com Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Web.com Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

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Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.



Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

"We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."

Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout

Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.