Notes FedExCup Tweaks Masters Prestige


PGA Tour (75x100)Tiger Woods won the FedExCup so handily last year that he skipped the first playoff event and could have stayed home during the TOUR Championship to collect the $10 million prize. He wound up 12,578 points ahead of Steve Stricker.
Under the new points structure announced Tuesday, he would have won by only 8,308 points.
The PGA TOUR finally tweaked the playoff portion of the FedExCup, and upon quick review, it appears the TOUR achieved its goal of giving more players a chance without making it unfair in those years when Woods doesnt play as well.
Using last year as an example, and without getting too involved in math, these are the two improvements.
' Woods had a 3,133-point lead over Stricker when he arrived at the TOUR Championship. Under the new system, Woods would have been 1,292 points behind.
' It increases from six players to 12 players who would have had a mathematical chance of winning the cup at the TOUR Championship.
The effect of these two changes will be some improvement in a players ability to make substantial gains in overall position based on excellent play in the Playoffs, while also increasing the number of players who will have a shot at winning the FedExCup, Finchem said.
Woods was the No. 1 seed last year and his points were reset to have a 1,000-point lead over No. 2. Under the new system, his margin will be only 500 points going into the playoff.
The other change is to offer 2,000 more points for each player wherever they finish. For example, Rich Beem received 1,613 points for a tie for seventh at The Barclays. This year, a tie for seventh would award 3,613.
Finchem said that would help players move up in the standings.
Jason Day got the most hype. Dustin Johnson played the best golf.
Johnson, a rookie from South Carolina with a powerful swing and cool head, was at the top of the list this week when the PGA TOUR reshuffled its order of Q-school and Nationwide Tour grads based on earnings.
Johnson made the cut in all five tournaments he played with two top 10s, including a tie for seventh at Pebble Beach. He earned $446,346, followed by John Merrick, who made most of his $317,580 on a tie for third last week in Mexico.
Rounding out the top five were Nicholas Thompson, Day and Y.E. Yang.
Johnson started the season ranked No. 34 in the Q-school/Nationwide group. The reshuffle helps these players get in more tournaments. Going into Tuesday, only the top 30 were at the Honda Classic.
Even in the era of the FedExCup, the TOUR still uses money for the reshuffle. Expect the Player Advisory Council to discuss later this year whether it should be based on money or points.
The Super Bowl is the biggest event in American sports, but not the most prestigious.
According to a Turnkey Sports Poll in January of 800 senior-level sports industry executives, the Masters was voted the most prestigious event, getting 41.8 percent of the vote, compared with 34.8 percent for the Super Bowl. The World Series (6.2 percent) was a distance third.
Asked to pick the biggest sporting event, it was no contest. The Super Bowl got 70.1 percent of the vote, dwarfing the Daytona 500, which received just under 7 percent. The Indianapolis 500 came in third (6.2 percent), while the Masters was tied for ninth with the NBA Finals and Stanley Cup Finals with less than one-half percent.
We are grateful to be held in such high esteem and will continue to work hard to maintain that position, Masters chairman Billy Payne said.
The poll was published last week in the Sports Business Journal.
Phil Mickelson captured his 16th title on the West Coast Swing, but that includes Arizona. Tiger Woods still has more victories in their native state of California, winning 12 times (including a U.S. Open and World Golf Championship) to 11 for Lefty.
In his adopted state of Florida, Woods also has no peer among active players.
He has won 10 times at five tournaments'Bay Hill (four times), Doral (three times), Disney (twice) and The Players Championship. Next on the list is John Huston, who has won five times at four tournaments.
Jack Nicklaus still has Woods beat in California (13 wins, including a U.S. Open) and he is tied in Florida with 10 victories. Nicklaus, however, most likely will have one edge over Woods in the Sunshine State. He won a major in Florida, the 1971 PGA Championship at PGA National, which was held in February.
No major has been held in Florida since 1987.
The Frys Electronics Open, part of the Fall Series, will move from Arizona to The Institute, a course near San Jose, Calif., which is owned by the company. All invitationals on the PGA TOUR will have at least 120-man fields this year, a 15-player increase for the Memorial. Henrik Stenson birdied the first three holes of his consolation match for a 3-up lead against Justin Leonard, prompting NBC Sports analyst Johnny Miller to say, Justin might want to get in a cart and go home. For those keeping score, that would be the second time Miller has suggested that Leonard go home. The other occasion was the 99 Ryder Cup at Brookline. Tiger Woods victory at the Match Play was his first in Arizona, the 15th state in which he has won. Kevin Cook is this years recipient of the USGAs Herbert Warren Wind Book Award for Tommys Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golfs Founding Father and Son.
I think the novelty will probably wear off. -- PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem, five years ago this week, on women competing on the PGA TOUR.
Tiger Woods averages $767,711 every time he plays in a World Golf Championship.
Its been two years of hell, but were going to fight through it, and I think Butch is the greatest. I think hes going to get me out of it. ' John Daly, on working with Butch Harmon.
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