Sunday, September 19, 2010

Fedex cup points. Whats the point?

I know some folks have come out in opposition to the Fedex Cup as a whole, and that's an argument that I just don't get.  The bottom line is that the best players in the world descend on to four of the best golfing cities in the world for four great tournaments.  What's not to love?  And compare this season's post-PGA Championship golf to the play in 2000.  There's just no comparison; the depth of field has improved, the networks fully cover the events, and even the crowds are bigger and more lively.  For a great explanation of how the Cup has improved the PGA, check out this article at the Sand Trap

 But the system still needs to be improved.

The most glaring shortcoming of the FedEx Cup is the totally asinine points system, that nobody, not even the most avid golf fans, understand. The system is a bizarre combination of season long points and the playoffs are worth more points.  Its not transparent, at all.  And, besides the winner, you never ever know how many points the 2nd or 22nd player receives. Its just kinda shitty.

Well I did a little research and here's a brief explanation:

  •  For the first portion of the season, the "regular season", from January through the latter part of August, PGA Tour players can earn points in each event they play. The number of points for winning each tournament varies from 250 to 600, depending on the quality of the field for each event, with the average tournament awarding 500. Fewer points are awarded to other players who finish each tournament, based on their final position.
  • Only those players who are regular full-time members of the PGA Tour will earn points. A non-member who joins the PGA Tour in mid-season will be eligible to earn points in the first event he plays after officially joining the Tour.
  •  After the final event of the regular season, the top 125 players participate in the playoffs. The number of points for winning each playoff tournament is 2500 - five times the amount for a typical regular season tournament. Points won in playoff events are added to those for the regular season, and the fields are reduced as the playoffs proceed.
  • After the third playoff event, the top 30 players move to the final event. Points are reset at that time, so the #1 player has 2500 points, the #2 player has 2250 points, down to the #30 player who is given 210 points. The goal is to ensure that any of the 30 players has a chance to win the FedEx Cup, but give the top players the best chance, with all of the top five players assured of winning the FedEx Cup by winning the Tour Championship

But take a breath for a second.  It took me four separate, fairly complex paragraphs to explain how this "playoff" system works.  How many does it take to explain the baseball or football playoffs?  One, maybe two?

The reason the the Cup has drawn mixed reviews from fans is that it's too complicated.  So here a novel idea, make it simpler.

  • Use the money list instead of making up an arbitrary points system for regular season play.
  • Make each playoff event mean more by "resetting" after each event.  In other words, invite the top 125 to the Barclays.  The top 100 from the Barclays get invited to the Deutsche Bank.  The top 70 from the Deutsche Bank get invited too the BMW.  The top 30 from the BMW get to the Championship.  And the winner of the Championship wins it all. 
The playoffs are a good thing for golf.  The only thing that could make it better is if we all understood it.


  1. OK now I understand! But, how many points do I get for shooting a 92 at Mt. Woodson? How about an 89 at Whiskey Creek?

  2. you get zero points. do not pass go. go straight to jail.