Golf's FedExCup is better, but it still doesn't really feel like a 'playoff'
Is it just me or does the PGA Tour’s FedExCup playoffs still not feel like a playoff?
The format is vastly improved over what it was when Tiger Woods in the first year could skip the first playoff event or when Vijay Singh only had to show up for the Tour Championship in 2008 to win the whole shebang.
But shouldn’t a playoff actually end with the guy who wins the last event being crowned the season champion?
Can you imagine if they had awarded the New England Patriots the Super Bowl title a couple of years ago even though they lost to the Giants because they had amassed an 18-0 record up to that point?
Hats off to Steve Stricker for taking over the lead in FedExCup points with his win at last week’s Deutsche Bank Championship, but to think he could win the FedExCup without winning another playoff event doesn’t really seem like a playoff at all.
In fact, I would say most golf fans still see these four “playoff” events as merely a collection of tournaments made more meaningful by the money that’s at stake. When we watch the Tour Championship in two weeks at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say golf fans are probably more interested in who wins the tournament than who accumulates the most FedExCup points and collects the $10 million bonus.
This format still doesn’t seem like a playoff, other than the fact that in the first two weeks a certain number of players are eliminated from advancing.
And do golf fans really understand how the FedExCup works? Go to any golf course and ask 10 guys to explain it to you. If one could do it, I would be surprised.
Perhaps it would seem more playoff like if we made the finals a match play event among the top finishers, whether that be the top four guys, eight guys, 16 or 32. You know, kind of like the U.S. Amateur.
Now that would be a playoff.
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I agree with your suggestion that the PGA tour needs to turn to a match play system. In match play the players are playing against each other, not the course. Golf needs to be effectively made into a more competitive sport. They need to have a season long point?s race that culminates in 64 players entering into a match play tournament. They should follow the format of the WCG Match play event, which in my opinion is the most exciting event of the year. The apogee of the FedEx cup would be two players playing 36 holes for $10 million. The prospect of a player needing to make a 7-foot putt on the final hole for a $10 million prize would incite all the emotion and pressure that playoffs should. This would equate the PGA tour playoffs to those of other major sports (NFL, NBA, MLB). I totally agree with you that the ?playoff actually end with the guy who wins the last event being crowned the season champion.? I optimistically wait in anticipation for the day when golf and playoffs work in harmony.