The FedEx Cup Playoffs are nothing new, with Tiger Woods (who else?) winning the inaugural event in 2007. But the FedEx Cup has become more lucrative year-on-year, and yet the powers that be are restless in their pursuit of a perfect season finale. Let’s take a look at a few of the changes for 2019.
Money on Their Mind
I’m not really sure I see the point of raising the prize money, if I’m honest. From a strictly financial perspective, if they felt a top prize of $10 million wasn’t enough of a motive last year then do they really think $15 mill this year is a game-changer?
Add to that the new Wyndham Rewards setup- $10 million dished out to the Top-10 players of the regular season- and you have $60 million total up for grabs. Brooks Kopeka, with three victories including a Major & WGC, won $2 mill for topping the charts, whilst Jon Rahm’s tenth spot was worth $500,000.
I would’ve thought there were better investment opportunities, but hey- it’s not my money!
And Then There Were Three…
This is smart. The playoffs will be three events rather than four. Sure, it’s less golf and that’s not (on paper, at least) a good thing, but I’ll take quality over quantity every time. The powers that be will always make decisions with the best interest of their bank accounts in mind, but fortunately that will often coincide with the best interests of golf fans.
The more condensed playoff schedule starts this week with The Northern Trust, followed by the BMW Championship before Tiger inevitably wins a second consecutive Tour Championship at East Lake. All joking aside, this schedule is more intense and, therefore, more exciting. If anybody is to overtake Brooks Koepka, they’ll need to be full throttle; there’s no room for methodically grinding out results here.
This is a tough one. I think (think!) I like it, but I have my reservations as I will explain shortly. Amidst the fairytale of Tiger’s return at last year’s showpiece, Justin Rose’s FedEx Cup win was almost totally overlooked.
In 2017, Justin Thomas claimed the season-long prize whilst Xander Schauffele won the tournament. Well… No more! The Tour Championship winner will be the FedEx Cup winner within the new system.
The 30 players in the Tour Championship field will start with staggered scores based on their season rankings entering the event as follows:
- No. 1: 10-under
- No. 2: 8-under
- No. 3: 7-under
- No. 4: 6-under
- No. 5: 5-under
- Nos. 6-10: 4-under
- Nos. 11-15: 3-under
- Nos. 16-20: 2-under
- Nos. 21-25: 1-under
- Nos. 26-30: level-par
This will likely reward season-long achievements slightly less than in previous years, hence my reservations. That said, it will probably make for a far more exciting finale. Overall, I think it’s for the best but every time you make changes there will teething problems. Yes, these changes are needed, but it will never be perfect and the whole concept won’t move forward or catch on if they are constantly tinkering so the sooner the PGA Tour can settle on a format the better.
Written by Joe Carabini