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FedEx Cup playoffs format criticized

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NORTON, Mass. – In their sixth season the FedEx Cup playoffs seem to be resonating with the players, and maybe even fans, but that doesn’t mean that the system is beyond reproach.

Just ask Bob Estes, one of six players who played their way into the top 100 last week to earn a spot this week at the Deutsche Bank Championship thanks to a tie for 10th place at Bethpage.

Estes’ 42-spot jump in the ranking would suggest he’s a fan of the current model’s volatility. But that’s not the case.

“I always thought it should be about 2 ½ to three times the point differential (in the playoffs),” said Estes, referring to playoff events receiving five times the FedEx Cup points of normal Tour events. “You want it to be a bigger difference than the regular season. But if you were to win last week you’re saying it’s the equivalent of winning five times during the regular season and I don’t agree with that.”

And Estes wasn’t alone in his critique of the current formula. On Friday Tiger Woods was asked about the points structure and offered this assessment:

“You could win all three of these events and still lose the FedEx Cup. That's kind of the nature of how it's set up,” said Woods, a two-time FedEx Cup champion.

“The argument would be, unfortunately for (New England Patriot) fans, is when you guys won, what was it, 18 and 0, and unfortunately lost one, that's kind of the argument, that's also why they set it up that way. Just because you sweep the playoffs doesn't mean it's guaranteed that you're going to win the overall title.”

Nor are all players crazy about how the points are reset for the playoff finale at East Lake.

“However you do the points for the first three rounds, that’s not as important as everyone starting at zero at the Tour Championship,” said Estes, who also echoed the sentiments of many Tour types who say the playoffs should be three events, not four. “The main thing is to be in that top 30 for the majors and everything like that.”