FedEx Cup playoffs allow players luxury of skipping events

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NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - APRIL 27: Jason Dufner hits a drive on the 13th hole during the second round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans at TPC Louisiana on April 27, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Stan Badz/US PGA TOUR)

NORTON, Mass. – Despite the most creative math this side of MIT, the PGA Tour number crunchers have not discovered a solution for what many consider the biggest hole in the FedEx Cup resume.

In 2007 Tiger Woods began the playoffs No. 1 in points, skipped the post-season opener in New York and cruised to the crown with a 12,500-point cushion. Two years later Woods played all four playoff events, won the cup easily and seemed less than amused when he was informed he would have collected the $10 million check even if he’d skipped a playoff event.

Although the concept of skipping a “playoff” event may offend the senses of your average sports fan, the mathematical reality is Tour types have the luxury of picking their battles, which is why Jason Dufner passed on last week’s opener at Bethpage.

“The main goal for me is to be in that Tour Championship,” Dufner said on Wednesday at TPC Boston. “If you’re in that Tour Championship you’ve got a realistic chance of winning the whole FedEx Cup.”

Instead, Dufner spent last week at home in Auburn, Ala., resting and pointed out that had he played The Barclays it would have added up to eight events in nine weeks, culminating with next month’s Ryder Cup.

“It was a good week to take off,” Dufner said. “I’m looking forward to kind of peaking towards the end of the playoffs and rolling into the Ryder Cup.”

As for what message Dufner’s “bye week” may have sent to his Tour frat brothers, consider that he slipped just three spots (from third to sixth) on the points list. GTC has visions of Tour mathematicians crunching the numbers as we type, looking for a fix.