The FEDEX Cup has evolved 11 times since its inception in 2007. Well today’s announcement makes in an even dozen. The PGA Tour’s attempts to even the playing field over the years was not as successful as they had hoped, so the change in the 2018/2019 format is to simplify the Tour Championship so fans do not have to take advanced math degrees like Bryson DeChambeau to understand who has a chance to win the final prize money. Unfortunately, I think the FEDEX Cup decision falls short, again, to make the it a viable and interesting playoff format.
I try to stay positive as organizations morph in attempts to improve their product delivered to the golfing masses, but I keep feeling that the PGA Tour keeps missing the mark. In this case, they achieved the goal of making the Tour Championship easier to follow and giving all players a chance to win the final prize money of 15 million dollars, but their methodology does not sit well because of the advantage given to the point leaders.
The new format is as follows: “The Tour Championship will now feature a staggered scoring system with the top player in the playoffs beginning at -10 with scores descending to even par for the 26th through 30th spots.” (TSN.ca) So akin to the Tour de France, the leaders are given the advantage of having a lead before the start of the last leg of the event. It all sounds fairly simple, but I found this overview of things to come and it may not be as simple leading up to the Tour Championship.
As you can see, the math leading to the Tour Championship is anything but simple. Regardless of the changes, it is simple to me that the PGA Tour is attempting to maximize the chances of the top players making their way to the Tour Championship. If I were in there shoes, I would do the same because the top names draw the fans and sponsors and that is where the money is. Look at this year, Jordan Spieth played is way out of the final tournament and there is likely a financial cost to for one of the top players not heading to East Lake.
The PGA Tour has made following the Tour Championship easier starting next year. I am not sure it will garner any more interest in the FEDEX Cup, nor am I sure the professionals will approach the season ending event any differently. I am still not a fan of the FEDEX Cup format and do not feel compelled to watch any of the action. I hold it in regard as any other event and will watch if things get interesting on the weekend.
What are your thoughts on the changes to the FEDEX Cup format for next year?
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!