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Meaningful confusion wins the day

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Golf’s two biggest stars both won.

You wouldn’t think you could design a better finish to the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup season than Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson both coming out winners, but there was still an unsatisfying dimension to the ending.

The points system made it all a bit confusing the entire year, so maybe it’s fitting that the epilogue was emotionally confusing.

If Woods won the biggest prize, the $10 million jackpot, how come it felt like he was getting the consolation prize? Woods was clearly disappointed he didn’t win the Tour Championship and said as much. The emotion prevailed over what he was feeling as the winner of the FedEx Cup. Woods couldn’t hide the sting of failing to close out the tournament Sunday, and Mickelson couldn’t resist making fun of the fact that he won the Tour Championship trophy but Woods walked away with the giant paycheck.

Yes, these four FedEx Cup events were all worth watching with the best players going hard at each other in four consecutive events. Who doesn't want to see that? Yes, the playoffs were much improved with the Tour Championship and FedEx Cup race in doubt on the back nine of the final day. Still, in the end, it was all a bit confusing.

Maybe this is the best we can hope for in the FedEx Cup: meaningful confusion.

The problem is that there appears to be irresolvable issues with golf staging 'playoffs.' The regular season has to matter in this year-long competition. The Tour Championship has to matter, too. Therein lies the conflict. You have to win the Super Bowl to take home the Lombardi Trophy. You don't have to win the Tour Championship to take home the FedEx Cup. It's a problem with the PGA Tour staging 'playoffs,' one that may never be resolved because so many unmet expectations are created using the word 'playoffs.'