Padraig Harrington Padraig Harrington supports FedEx Cup system heading into Deutsche Bank Championship

The volatility of the PGA Tour's new FedEx Cup playoffs system has become a major topic of discussion following week one.

Last year, several players voiced their displeasure with the previous system, saying that there wasn't enough opportunity to make a move in the points standings. After some offseason tweaking, now some players are saying there's too much volatility, and it has cheapened the regular season.

Heading into the start of this week's Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston on Friday, Padraig Harrington said he has few qualms with the system. Last week, Harrington missed the cut at the first playoff event - The Barclays - and slipped from fourth to 23rd in the FedEx Cup standings.

"I think that's a fair reflection," Harrington told reporters. "You know, in the playoffs, you kind of should be knocked out if you don't make the cut in the first round. I think that's a reasonable reflection."

Harrington, whose last four starts have included victories in the British Open and the PGA Championship, said he thinks the system will possibly need a few years of tweaking before PGA Tour officials can get it right.

"I think you'll probably find that next year there wouldn't be such an emphasis on making the cut," Harrington said. "I think there might be a higher emphasis on finishing well in tournaments, but I do like to see the volatility in moving.

"I'd actually make it more volatile, if anything."

Last week, Vijay Singh won The Barclays and earned 11,000 FedEx Cup points in the playoff opener to take the lead with 109,500, leaving him 5,125 ahead of second-place Sergio Garcia. Kevin Sutherland is third.

The top 120 in the FedEx Cup standings have qualified for the Deutsche Bank Championship, which will be played Friday through Monday over the Labor Day holiday weekend. The field will be cut to 70 for the BMW Championship next week at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis and then be chopped down to 30 for the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.

Martin Laird, who improved from No. 127 to No. 67 in the FedEx Cup standings after finishing tied for seventh at The Barclays, said how players feel about the system probably has a lot to do with the way they happened to be moving in the standings.

"Obviously, I love it, and I'm sure there are a few guys that don't love it," Laird told reporters. "But, you know, it's the playoffs. It's like any sport: You play to get there, and when you get there, it's whoever is playing best at that time that comes out on top."

Harrington said the problem some people might have with the FedEx Cup playoffs is that they view it as a season-long event, rather than a four-week series with a bit of a handicap to start off.

Still, Harrington said he thinks the FedEx Cup is achieving its purpose, which is to have people still talking about golf once the major tournaments are complete.

"It's got more players out here playing (and) more players interested at this time of the year," Harrington said. "It's creating a bit of a buzz. It's like if players aren't exactly happy with the system at the moment, no press is bad press, is it? It's all good.

"People are talking about it. That's the main thing."

Deutsche Bank Championship

  • SCHEDULE: Friday-Monday

  • SITE: Norton, Ma.

  • COURSE: TPC Boston (7,207 yards, par 71)

  • PURSE: $7 million (winner's share: $1.26 million)

  • FEDEX CUP POINTS: 190,000 (winner's share: 11,000)

  • TV: Golf Channel (Friday, 3-6 p.m., 8:30-11:30 p.m. EDT; Saturday, 2:30-5:30 a.m., 3-6 p.m., 8:30-11:30 p.m. EDT; Sunday, 2:30-5 a.m. EDT) and NBC (Sunday, 3-6 p.m. EDT; Monday, 2-6 p.m. EDT).

August 28, 2008

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