SBD/Issue 52/Leagues & Governing Bodies

PGA Tour Alters FedEx Cup To Ensure More Dramatic Finish

The PGA Tour Policy Board Tuesday ratified changes to the structure of the FedEx Cup playoffs, including guaranteeing the champion will be determined at the culminating event, the Tour Championship. The Policy Board also scheduled the Tour Championship for September 24-27, creating a one-week break between the event and the third FedEx Cup event, the BMW Championship, which will be held from September 10-13. Field sizes for the first two events of the playoffs, The Barclays and the Deutsche Bank Championship, have been reduced to 125 and 100, down from 144 and 120, respectively. Also, the FedEx Cup points system has been revamped for all tournaments; points for playoff events will be quintupled compared to regular-season events. All points will be carried through the BMW Championship.

PLACE
PGA TOUR
EVENT
WGC
EVENT
MAJORS,
THE PLAYERS
FEDEX CUP
EVENTS
ADDITIONAL
EVENTS
1st
500
550
600
2,500
250
2nd
300
315
330
1,500
150
3rd
190
200
210
950
95
4th
135
140
150
675
70
5th
110
115
120
550
55
10th
75
78
82
375
37.5

POINTS RESET FOR TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP: Under the changes, the points standings will be reset following the BMW Championship, rather than before the playoffs, as had been the case during the first two years of the FedEx Cup (PGA Tour).

POS.
RESET POINT TOTALS
1st
2,500
2nd
2,250
3rd
2,000
4th
1,800
5th
1,600
10th
600

BUILT TO LAST: PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem said of the changes, "We knew we had to re-evaluate the current structure and consider the best ways to maintain interest and excitement throughout the playoffs" (USA TODAY, 11/26). Finchem added, “We've had a lot of outreach with sponsors, with players. We think the system sets up very nicely” (“Golf Central,” Golf Channel, 11/25). ESPN.com's Bob Harig noted under the new changes, Tour officials are "assuring that the outcome is not decided before reaching the Tour Championship -- as was essentially the case in the first two years" with winning golfers Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh, respectively. PGA Tour Senior Dir of Communications & Strategy Steve Dennis: "Nobody was willing to have another year in which the FedEx Cup had been essentially locked up before the Tour Championship. The idea was that it really needed to come down to the Tour Championship, and if possible, with several players in strong contention" (ESPN.com, 11/25). Finchem said, "Players were consistent in thinking it shouldn't be over until Atlanta, a lot of guys should be in it at the end and the regular season should matter. I think it will be well received by the players" (GOLFWEEK.com, 11/25). Golf Channel’s Ted Tryba said he likes the “simplicity” of the new format. Tryba: “The fans back home didn’t have a very good understanding of it and the players themselves really didn’t know what was going on half the time. … This year it’s very simple” (“Golf Central,” Golf Channel, 11/25).

Flesch Hopes Changes To FedEx Cup Will
Add Significance To Tour Championship
SCORECARD: CBSSPORTS.com's Steve Elling wrote the third edition of the FedEx Cup can be "characterized as a compromise between 2007's first year, when points were perceived to be weighted too heavily on regular-season performance, and 2008, when critics ripped the playoff-centric revision that allowed huge points jumps based completely on good play" in the playoffs (CBSSPORTS.com, 11/25). ESPN.com's Harig wrote despite the changes, "missing is the sexy shootout many desired." The Tour is "rewarding players for their body of work over the course of the year," and "those in charge couldn't quite stomach the idea of a fluky finish deciding" who wins the $10M top prize. Golfer and Players Advisory Council member Steve Flesch said of the changes, "For the last couple years, Atlanta for the Tour Championship has been an afterthought. And Coca-Cola is one of our biggest sponsors. They deserve better than that. We have to make it mean something." Harig wrote, "Give all the folks who put their heads together some credit for coming up with a plan that will at the very least ensure that everyone who gets to Atlanta has a mathematical shot at the big money" (ESPN.com, 11/25).

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