Will the revised FedEx Cup work

By Rex HoggardJanuary 5, 2009, 5:00 pm
Welcome to FedEx Cup 3.0, a slimmed-down, less-explosive, easier-to-digest version of the original that may finally be ready for mass consumption.
 
Although the third year of the circuit’s season-long race will maintain its basic structure, the changes as outlined by Tour commissioner Tim Finchem in November are less fine tweaks than they were an overall facelift. The Tour has concocted a sweeping nip/tuck that addresses at least three of the current system’s most-talked-about blind spots.
 
FedEx Cup for Dummies
Regular season: 37 events with 500 points going to winners (winners of majors and The Players earn 10 percent more points and WGC winners get a 5 percent bump. A champion of an opposite-field event earns 250 points.).
 
Playoffs: Points quintupled for first three playoff events followed by a reset before the Tour Championship that will assure that all 30 players have a mathematical chance to win the Cup.
 
Playoff field sizes: Fields for the first two events have been reduced (Barclays, 125; Deutsche Bank, 100), while the BMW (70) and Tour Championship (30) remain the same.
 
Reset: The differential between first and second place after the BMW will be 250 points, with the top 5 players heading into East Lake assured the FedEx Cup crown with a victory.
The most glaring of the cup concerns was the absence of a big finish. Vijay Singh put an early damper on the 2008 race by going 2-0 to start the playoffs – a run that included one of the year’s most exciting finishes at The Barclays, non-major variety – and cruising into Atlanta for the Tour Championship needing only to remain upright for four days to collect the $10 million pot.
 
The fix? The new system will reduce the number of points awarded during the regular season. Players will earn 500 points for a victory at a regular event and victories at a major championship or The Players Championship and World Golf Championships will be worth 10 percent and 5 percent more, respectively.
 
“The overriding premise was that we had, and are getting strong support for the current structure. Notwithstanding the fact that the air went out of the balloon a little bit when Vijay pretty much wrapped it up after two weeks in '08,” Finchem said.
 
“When we went into this process, we went into it looking at it let's stick with the fundamentals here. And the fundamentals to argue are basically to make sure it's not over until Atlanta and make sure that a lot of guys are in the hunt.”
 
Points in the playoffs will be quintupled with winners earning 2,500. A reset – which occurred prior to the first playoff event in ’07 and ’08 – will take place before the Tour Championship. Delaying the reset, officials say, will assure a meaningful finale, with the top 5 at East Lake able to claim the FedEx Cup with a victory and all 30 players in the field mathematically still in the FedEx picture.
 
“We can guarantee that other players will have a chance to win (the FedEx Cup) at the Tour Championship,” said Steve Dennis, the Tour’s director of communications strategy. “Once they start to play, anything can happen, but until then we can be sure there will be a race.”
 
The delayed reset also alleviates what Finchem called the “cliff factor.” In 2008, Padraig Harrington won the season’s final two majors but struggled in the playoffs, missing the cut at The Barclays and Deutsche Bank Championship, finishing tied for 55th at the BMW and failing to earn a trip to East Lake.
 
“We have to make sure we have our top players there at the end,” said Brett Quigley, one of 16 members on the Tour’s Player Advisory Council.
 
Finchem, a former Washington, D.C., lobbyist, also seems to have borrowed a page from former President Bill Clinton’s campaign for the 2009 edition of the FedEx Cup – keep it simple, stupid.
 
“Smaller numbers are easier to understand,” Finchem reasoned.
 
In 2008, for example, a victory at a regular Tour event was worth 4,500 and ballooned to 9,000 points for the first three playoff events. Reduced totals, officials reason, will make the season-long race more digestible for the average fan.
 
The Tour also reduced field sizes for the first two playoff events, with The Barclays tee sheet dropping to 125 (down from 144) and the Deutsche Bank to 100 (120). The BMW will remain at 70 players.
 
The new plan also recognized player concerns over playing four weeks in a row with the Tour building in a “dark week” after the BMW that will remain the playoff format through 2012.
 
What remains to be seen in 2009, however, is whether the top players will participate in every playoff event. In 2007, Tiger Woods skipped The Barclays and still easily won the season-long race. Similarly, Phil Mickelson took the Deutsche Bank off and was third on the ’07 points list.
 
By delaying the reset until after the BMW in ’09 a player with a strong regular season will have the luxury of a “bye” week, hardly a best-case scenario for sponsors but a necessity if East Lake is going to count.
 
“I don’t think you have to (play every event to win the cup),” Finchem said. “But if you know that there are five guys up there, any one of which could win the tournament, they beat you, you're putting yourself in a big disadvantage. So I wouldn't say it can't happen, but I think the incentives are there that it's more and more important as you go on.”
 
Tour officials are counting on increased purses and proven venues in the playoffs to keep player interest.
 
This is how the FedEx Cup breaks down in 2009. Will it actually work and be effective, however, is a question which can only be answered come playoff time.
 
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  • Watch: Shilton wins $16k timepiece with hole-in-one

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 2:50 am

    Australian Brad Shilton made a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole during the first round of the Australian Open, and he was rewarded handsomely for his efforts - with a Tag Heuer watch worth $16k.

    Day gets in early mix with 66 in return to Australia

    By Associated PressNovember 23, 2017, 2:32 am

    SYDNEY - Jason Day's first tournament round in Australia in four years was a 5-under 66 to put him among the leaders early Thursday at the Australian Open.

    Day's round came unhinged late with a double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole, his second-last of the day. He hit his tee shot into the trees on the left, hit back out to the fairway, missed his approach to the green and then couldn't get up and down.

    ''That was brutal,'' Day said of the 481-yard hole that played into gusting winds.

    But Day recovered quickly to birdie his last to sit three strokes behind fellow Australian and early leader Cameron Davis, who started on the first, had six front-nine birdies and shot 63 at The Australian Golf Club.

    In between the two was Australian Taylor MacDonald, who shot 65.

    ''It was a pretty solid round, I didn't miss many fairways, I didn't miss many greens,'' Day said. ''I'd give myself a seven or eight out of 10.''

    Defending champion Jordan Spieth, attempting to win the Australian Open for the third time in four years, was off to a poor start among the afternoon players, bogeying his first two holes.

    The Sydney-born Davis played most of this season on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada and will attempt to secure his Web.com card in the final round of qualifying from Dec. 7-10 in Chandler, Arizona.

    ''Everything went to plan,'' Davis said. ''I got off to a great start. I was hitting my spots and was able to keep it together on the back nine.''

    NOTES: Australian Brad Shilton had the first ace of the tournament, using a 5-iron for a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole, his second hole of the day. Australian veteran Geoff Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open winner, shot 69. He and Rod Pampling (68) played the first round with Day.

    Day: Woods feeling good, hitting it long

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 22, 2017, 9:33 pm

    Jason Day says Tiger Woods told him he feels better than he has in three years, which is good news for Woods a week ahead of his return to the PGA Tour at the Hero World Challenge.

    Day, a fellow Nike endorser, was asked about Woods during his news conference at the Emirates Australian Open on Wednesday. "I did talk to him," Day said, per a report in the Sydney Morning Herald,"and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years'" Day said.

    "He doesn't wake up with pain anymore, which is great. I said to him, 'Look, it's great to be one of the best players ever to live, but health is one thing that we all take for granted and if you can't live a happy, healthy life, then that's difficult.'"

    The Hero World Challenge will be played Nov. 30-Dec. 3 in the Bahamas and broadcast on Golf Channel and NBC.

    Day, who has had his own health issues, said he could empathize with Woods.

    "I totally understand where he's coming from, because sometimes I wake up in the morning and it takes me 10 minutes to get out of bed, and for him to be in pain for three years is very frustrating."

    Woods has not played since February after undergoing surgery following a recurrence of back problems.

    "From what I see on Instagram and what he's been telling me, he says he's ready and I'm hoping that he is, because from what I hear, he's hitting it very long," Day said.

    "And if he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.

    "There's no pressure. I think it's a 17- or 18-man field, there's no cut, he's playing at a tournament where last year I think he had the most birdies at."

    Move over Lydia, a new Ko is coming to LPGA

    By Randall MellNovember 22, 2017, 5:11 pm

    Another gifted young South Korean will be joining the LPGA ranks next year.

    Jin Young Ko, the Korean LPGA Tour star, informed the American-based LPGA on Sunday night that she will be taking up membership next year. Ko earned the right by winning the LPGA’s KEB Hana Bank Championship as a nonmember in South Korea in October.

    Ko, 22, no relation to Lydia Ko, first burst on to the international spotlight with her run into contention at the Ricoh Women’s British Open at Turnberry two years ago. She led there through 54 holes, with Inbee Park overtaking her in the final round to win.

    With 10 KLPGA Tour titles, three in each of the last two seasons, Ko has risen to No. 19 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings.

    Ko told GolfChannel.com Sunday afternoon that she was struggling over the decision, with a Monday deadline looming.

    “It’s a difficult decision to leave home,” Ko said after the final round of the CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, when she was still undecided. “The travelling far away, on my own, the loneliness, that’s what is difficult.”

    Ko will be the favorite to win the LPGA’s Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year Award next year. South Koreans have won that award the last three years. Sung Hyun Park won it this year, In Gee Chun last year and Sei Young Kim in 2015. South Korean-born players have won the last four, with New Zealand’s Lydia Ko winning it in 2014. Ko was born in South Korea and moved to New Zealand when she was 6.

    Ko released this statement through the LPGA on Wednesday: 

    "It has been my dream since I was young to play on the LPGA Tour and I look forward to testing myself against the best players on a worldwide stage. I know it is going to be tough but making a first win as an LPGA member and winning the Rolex Rookie of the Year award would be two of the biggest goals I would like to achieve next year."