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.
 
Related Links:
  • Top 5 Questions of 2009
  • Top 10 Stories of 2008
     
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    Dredge, Quiros share early lead in Morocco

    By Associated PressApril 19, 2018, 8:41 pm

    RABAT, Morocco - Bradley Dredge reeled off three birdies in his last five holes to share the lead with Alvaro Quiros after the opening round of the European Tour's Trophee Hassan II event Thursday.

    Quiros finished with two straight birdies as the big-hitting Spaniard joined Welshman Dredge on 5-under-par 67.

    Dredge, who made seven birdies in all, has won twice before but his last triumph came in 2006.


    Full-field scores from the Trophee Hassan II


    Quiros, who has claimed seven victories, last won at the Rocco Forte Open in Sicily last year.

    The joint leaders have a one-shot advantage over Oliver Fisher, Joakim Lagergren, Erik Van Rooyen and Lorenzo Gagli at the Royal Golf Dar Es Salam course.

    Former U.S. Masters champion Danny Willett, without a win since his victory at Augusta two years ago, opened with a 1-over 73.

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    Murray battles wind, takes early Valero lead

    By Will GrayApril 19, 2018, 7:59 pm

    Amid a feast-or-famine season, Grayson Murray appears poised for another meal at the Valero Texas Open.

    Murray battled windy conditions during the opening round at TPC San Antonio, carding seven birdies against a double bogey to start with a 67. At 5 under, he held a one-shot lead over Chesson Hadley at the end of the morning wave.

    There has been no middle ground for Murray this year, as each of his nine starts in full-field events have yielded either a top-15 finish or a result outside the top 70. That includes his two most recent starts, where he finished T-14 at the Houston Open despite putting "terribly" and then missed the cut last week at the RBC Heritage.

    But Murray spent time on the range early this week to iron out a swing flaw, and the results were quickly evident during his opening round.


    Full-field scores from the Valero Texas Open

    Valero Texas Open: Articles, photos and videos


    "When I get off, it's never far off but it seems like I'm always searching for something, and then I start compensating and then I create a new bad habit," Murray told reporters. "Ball-striking for me gives me confidence with every other club in my bag when it comes to putting or chipping or anything. I know if I hit it well, those parts of the game are going to be good, too."

    Murray made more headlines for his words than his game for much of his rookie season, but a breakthrough win at the opposite-field Barbasol Championship in July solidified his playing status for the next two years. With swirling winds reaching 25 mph during his round, Murray was pleased to have found 13 of 18 greens in regulation and capitalize on several of his birdie chances.

    "The wind bothers me when I'm hitting it like I did last week, when I'm not compressing the ball. That's just the bottom line," Murray said. "But once you start swinging it well, like hitting it into the wind really shows you how you are hitting the golf ball because it's only going to maximize your dispersion. So if you hit a 5-yard cut, it's going to be probably a 10-yard cut into the wind. That tells you when you're hitting it good."

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    One year later: Surgery to success for Tiger

    By Will GrayApril 19, 2018, 6:30 pm

    So much can happen in a year.

    Exactly 365 days ago, Tiger Woods went under the knife. When it comes to Woods, surgery has become a somewhat regular occurrence over the years; his timeline of injuries and procedures stretches nearly as long as the one detailing his on-course accomplishments.

    But this one was surprising, both for the timing and the operation in question.

    It was only one day prior, after all, that Woods sat in front of a sparse gallery of fans and media to announce his plans to design a new course at Big Cedar Lodge in Missouri. He smiled while sitting carefully in a wooden folding chair, then stood up and gingerly hit a short wedge shot to cap the publicity stunt. He needed to re-load and swing again in order to find the makeshift green.

    While it was clear that Woods was not firing on all cylinders, at no point in the proceedings did he mention the surgical appointment looming on his calendar.

    “The back is progressing,” Woods said on April 18, 2017. “I have good days and bad days. I’ve had three back operations, and that’s just kind of the nature of the business unfortunately. That’s all I can say.”

    He added back operation No. 4 the very next day, this time opting for a lumbar fusion that was more serious and invasive than any of its predecessors. The surgery brought with it a six-month recovery window and the very real notion that, at age 41, Woods may have already played his final hole of competitive golf.



    “He is looking forward to life without pain, looking forward to day-to-day without pain,” Woods’ agent, Mark Steinberg, said the day after the surgery. “He’s looking forward to playing with his kids without pain, playing golf without pain. He knows he’s got a long road, but there’s a huge sense of relief right now.”

    Fast-forward one year, and Woods returned to Missouri this week to survey the progress of his Payne’s Valley layout that is scheduled to open in 2019. And near the same spot where he swung through pain with wedge in hand, this time around he ripped a driver at full speed to the delight of the estimated 7,000 fans gathered for a junior clinic he hosted.

    Given the relative normalcy of his most recent appearance, what Woods endured last April 19 seems like a lifetime ago.

    In recapping the subsequent 12 months, keep in mind that the surgery wasn’t even Woods’ lowest point. That would come six weeks later, when he was arrested and cited for driving under the influence in Florida. There was the mugshot photo, and the arrest reports, and of course the police video where one of the greatest athletes of the last 30 years struggled to tie his shoes.

    At that point, professional golf was an afterthought.

    But Woods entered private treatment over the summer for his use of prescription drugs, and when he re-emerged as an assistant at the Presidents Cup in October the focus was again on his potential return to life inside the ropes – even as Woods himself acknowledged the possibility that he may never return to competition.

    “I don’t know what my future holds for me,” he said. “As I’ve told you guys, I’m hitting 60-yard shots.”

    It wasn’t long before those pitch shots gave way to irons and full swings with drivers, one social media video at a time. Woods’ whirlwind renaissance after receiving clearance from his surgeon raised expectations for his return at the Hero World Challenge in December to stratospheric levels.

    Now four months into his latest comeback attempt, Woods has exceeded nearly every expectation while re-establishing himself as a regular contender on the PGA Tour. Three straight top-12 finishes in Florida highlighted his spring, and his health is such that questions about the status of his back from the media are now few and far between.

    “I think as an athlete, you’re always pushing yourself, right? And the best ones are pushing themselves beyond their limits,” Woods said at the Valspar Championship. “I happened to be one of those guys who pushed my body and my mind to accomplish the things I knew I could. I was able to do it.”

    How the next 365 days unfold remains to be seen. Woods is now 42, fighting an undefeated opponent in Father Time, and it wasn’t that long ago that the one-year retrospectives about him had a decidedly different tone.

    But heading into the heart of the summer season, Woods’ prospects seem more promising than they have been at any point since his five-win season in 2013. And the winding path from bleak to rosy can be traced back to a fateful decision exactly one year ago to try once more to heal his ailing back where multiple prior attempts had failed.

    From limping with a wedge to veering off the road to hinting at a possible return to smashing expectations while staring down players half his age.

    So much can happen in a year.

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    World Long Drive Association Staging First Live Televised Event of 2018: "Clash in the Canyon," Tuesday, April 24 at 7 p.m. ET on Golf Channel

    By Golf Channel Public RelationsApril 19, 2018, 6:15 pm

    Open & Women’s Divisions Airing Live in Primetime in Partnership with Golf Mesquite Nevada from Long Drive’s Most Storied Venue

    Each of the Top-20 in Open Division World Long Drive Rankings & Five-Time (and Defending) World Champion Sandra Carlborg Headline the Field

    Veteran Sports Broadcaster Jonathan Coachman Making Golf Channel Debut; Will Conduct Play-by-Play at Each of the Five Televised WLDA Events in 2018

    Coming off record viewership in 2017 and a season fueled by emergent dynamic personalities, the World Long Drive Association (WLDA) will stage its first of five televised events in 2018 with the Clash in the Canyon, airing live and in primetime on Tuesday, April 24 at 7 p.m. ET on Golf Channel. Taking place April 21-24 at Mesquite Regional Sports and Event Complex in partnership with Golf Mesquite Nevada, the Clash in the Canyon will culminate with the televised portion Tuesday evening featuring the four women and eight men having advanced from preliminary rounds.

    A familiar setting in the Long Drive community, Mesquite previously hosted the Volvik World Long Drive Championship and a number of qualifying events dating back to 1997, including the World Championship having been staged at the same venue as the Clash in the Canyon from 2008-2012. The 480-yard venue is carved out of the adjacent canyon which acts as a scenic backdrop when gazing down the grid from an elevated tee box.

    The eventwill feature a 36-man field competing in the Open Division based on World Long Drive rankings, which will include each of the top-20 in the current rankings, along with a Women’s Division field of 18 competitors, led by five-time – and defending – World champion Sandra Carlborg. The Open Division will compete for a $50,000 purse, with a first place prize of $20,000, while the Women’s Division will be vying for a $7,000 first place prize with a $15,000 overall purse. World No. 3 Ryan Reisbeck will be defending his 2017 Clash in the Canyon title, while Chloe Garner won’t have an opportunity to defend on the Women’s side due to her being sidelined for the 2018 season with a shoulder injury. The Clash in the Canyon is the second official event of the 2018 World Long Drive season, as Justin Moose claimed the East Coast Classic in Columbia, South Carolina last month.

    COVERAGE: Live coverage of the Clash in the Canyon will air in primetime on Golf Channel from 7-9 p.m. ET on Tuesday, April 24, with Golf Centralpreviewing the event from 6-7 p.m. ET. An encore telecast is scheduled to air on Golf Channel from 11 p.m.-1 a.m. ET.

    The production centering around live coverage of the competition will utilize six dedicated cameras, capturing all angles from the hitting platform and the landing grid, including a SuperMo camera as well as two craned-positioned cameras that will track the ball in flight once it leaves the competitor’s clubface. New to 2018 will be an overlaid graphic line on the grid, the “DXL Big Drive to Beat,” (similar to the “1st & 10 line” made popular in football) displaying the longest drive during a given match to signify the driving distance an opposing competitor will need to surpass to take the lead. The telecast also will feature a custom graphics package suited to the anomalous swing data typically generated by Long Drive competitors, tracking club speed, ball speed and apex in real-time via Trackman. Trackman technology also will provide viewers with a sense of ball flight, tracing the arc of each drive from the moment of impact.

    Morning Drive and Golf Central will prepare viewers for the Clash in the Canyon through interviews and dedicated segments featuring competitors on-site in Mesquite.

    OPEN DIVISION FIELD (in order of World Long Drive ranking): Justin James, Maurice Allen, Ryan Reisbeck, Tim Burke, Trent Scruggs, Will Hogue, Mitch Grassing, Ryan Steenberg, Paul Howell, Glenn Wilson Jr., Landon Gentry, Joe Miller, Tommy Hug, Justin Moose, Kyle Berkshire, Kevin Shook, Jason Eslinger, Nick Kiefer, Steve Monroe, Troy Teal, Jeff Gavin, Brady Torbitt, Dan McIntosh, Eddie Fernandes, Spencer McDaniel, Scott Kalamar, Stephen Kois, Jim Waldron, Jeff Crittenden, Jeff Flagg, Mark Costello, Mitch Dobbyn, Josh Cassaday, Press LaBrie, Dan Lambert, Wes Patterson.

    WOMEN’S DIVISION FIELD: Hollie Bartsch, Alexis Belton, Monica Borowicz, Sandra Carlborg, Shelby Crider, Irene Crowchild, Erin Hess, Jana Jones, Heather Manfredda, Phillis Meti, Troy Mullins, Debbie Peever, Alex Phillips, Ashley Pinion, Jessika Shelton, Erin Shireman, Haley Vandenberg, Katherine Wills.

    FORMAT: The Open Division field will consist of 36 men broken into four “pods” of nine competitors across four three-minute sets of eight balls each, with a points system being used to identify four from each pod advancing to the Round of 16. From there, five sets of eight balls will determine the eight competitors advancing to take part in the single elimination match play bracket during the live telecast on Golf Channel. The Women’s Division will feature 18 competitors broken into two groups of nine taking part in four sets of eight balls. The top four point-earners from each pod will advance to the single-elimination match play competition beginning with the quarterfinals, with the winners moving on to the semifinals which will play out on Tuesday night’s telecast.

    BROADCAST TEAM: A new voice to World Long Drive, veteran sports broadcaster Jonathan Coachman will conduct play-by-play at each of the five WLDA televised events on Golf Channel in 2018, beginning with the Clash in the Canyon.Art Sellinger – World Long Drive pioneer and two-time World champion – will provide analysis, and Golf Channel’s Jerry Foltz will offer reports from the teeing platform and conduct interviews with competitors in the field.

    2018 VOLVIK WLD CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFYING & MASTERS DIVISION: As part of the event, the WLDA will stage preliminary and final qualifying for the Open Division on Saturday-Sunday, April 21-22, which will award six exemptions into the 2018 Volvik World Long Drive Championship field later this year. Also taking place on Sunday, April 22 will be a Masters Division (ages 45+) competition, with a field of 16 that includes several individuals who have greatly contributed to the success and sustainability of the sport over the past few decades. The Masters Division format will feature a points system, with each competitor completing five sets of eight balls each. The top eight will advance to the single-elimination, match play head-to-head quarterfinals, semifinals and finals.

    MASTERS DIVISION FIELD:  Mike Bauman, Don Beck, Kyle Blenkhorn, Vince Ciurluini, Jeff Crittenden, Pat Dempsey, Eddie Fernandes, Jeff Gavin, Chris Hall, Dan Lambert, Brian Lawler, Tom Peppard, Lance Reader, Richard Smith, Scott Smith and Roy Studley.

    DIGITAL & SOCIAL MEDIA COVERAGE: Fans can stay up-to-date on all of the action surrounding the Clash in the Canyon by following @GolfChannel and @WorldLongDrive on social media. Golf Channel social media host Alexandra O’Laughlin will be on-site contributing to the social conversation as the event unfolds, and, the telecast will integrate social media-generated content during live coverage on Tuesday, April 24 using the hashtag, #WorldLongDrive.

    In addition to the latest video and highlights from on-site in Mesquite, WorldLongDrive.com will feature real-time scoring for the duration of the event, April 21-24. Golf Channel Digital also will feature content from the Clash in the Canyon leading up to and immediately following the live telecast.

    2018 WORLD LONG DRIVE ASSOCIATION SCHEDULE:

    DATE

    EVENT

    LOCATION

    March 15-17

    East Coast Classic

    West Columbia, S.C.

    April 21-24

    Clash in the Canyon (*Golf Channel*)

    Mesquite, Nev.

    May 11-15

    Ak-Chin Smash in the Sun (*Golf Channel*)

    Maricopa, Ariz.

    June 4-5

    Atlantic City Boardwalk Bash (*Golf Channel*)

    Atlantic City, N.J.

    June 21-23

    Bluff City Shootout

    Memphis, Tenn.

    July 6-8

    Bash For Cash

    Port Robinson, Ont., Canada

    August 2-4

    WinStar Midwest Slam

    Thackerville, Okla.

    August 12-13

    Tennessee Big Shots benefitting Niswonger Children’s Hospital (*Golf Channel*)

    Kingsport, Tenn.

    September 1-5

    Volvik World Long Drive Championship (*Golf Channel*)

    Thackerville, Okla.

    One additional event is scheduled to be staged in the fall, being contested as part of the 2018-2019 season:

    • Catawba Classic – Hickory, N.C. (November 3-4)

    Showcasing the truly global nature of World Long Drive, several events will be staged in 2018 through officially sanctioned WLDA international partners, including stops in Germany, Japan, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Additionally, an all-encompassing international qualifier will be staged (late summer) featuring a minimum of four exemptions into the Open Division of the Volvik World Long Drive Championship in September.