Grouchy Golf Blog

Tuesday, October 02, 2007 at 9:42 PM

FedEx Cup Recommendations

Creating a season-ending playoff system for professional golf is a tremendous challenge. While PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem has been taking a lot of flak lately, he should be commended for attempting such an ambitious venture. While the FedEx Cup has some serious problems, several of the can be used to make it better. What's important is that the PGA has taken its first step towards a playoff system.

But if Mr. Finchem asked me for some grouchy advice, I'd be happy to dispense them! Basically, I think that any playoff system for golf needs to conclude with a match play tournament. That way, players are forced to compete in every round/event to win all the marbles. I think that a point system should be retained, but only during the regular season. Points would accumulate for each player during the season, and would determine the qualification and seeding for a post-season match play event. This event would include the top 12 players placed into a 16-slot, 4-round bracket system. The top 4 players would receive automatic byes into the 2nd-round.

However, I've never liked typical match play tournaments where a player must beat an opponent over a single 18-hole match to advance to the next round. It allows too many upsets from inferior players riding a flash-in-the-pan hot streak. Instead, I'd like to see each round played in a best of three match format. In other words, each player must win two out of three matches to advance to the next round. One match would be played per day, so each round would be played over the course of three days, if necessary. This format would be dramatically less draining on players who would otherwise play a full 72 holes in a stroke play event. I envision one round per week and since there are only 4 rounds, it would cover the same amount of time as the current FedEx Cup format.

Imagine the excitement of watching such an event. The winner would be the indisputable golf champion and truly worthy of the FedEx Cup! What do you think?


Anonymous Mizuno Jim said...

This would certainly make sure the best player surfaces. Unfortunately though, in this age of TV advertising, there is no network in the US that will sign up to air a golf tournament with an unknown ending time (=matchplay). The BBC in the UK is one of the very few stations that will actually air a complete matchplay event (HBSC Championship). Too much Corporate Pressure. If you think it's not that bad; read "Open" by John Feinstein and learn more about golf tournaments and TV schedules!!!

I agree with you: watching it would be exciting, but I think the only way to watch it will be to travel to the event and buy tickets! I guess we will all need to do some more thinking!

Keep up the good work, love the blog  


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Uummmm - no thanks. Matches taking 2 or 3 days to complete ? That might interest the cricket crowd, they are used to matches that last for days and days If it takes three days to complete a match, we might have to sell no-doze in the galleries.

The better match play players prefer a 36 hole match to even things out. Best of three 18 hole matches are still 18 hole matches.

Match play just doesn't get the viewership numbers going in the US. If the Fed Ex Cup were held in Europe, it would have a chance, but not in America.  


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do we really need this much extra media/corporate stuff?

Maybe I'm old fashioned but I liked baseball when the winner of the American League played the winner of the National League in the Series to be called the best.

IMHO I think between the year long stroke average mixed in with performance in the Majors pretty much lets us know who is the greatest player. Any silly season type stuff added to that is just show biz  


Blogger Tony at TheGolfSpace.com said...

Boy if Tiger is "tired" and needs to sit out of tournaments to "rest" (being the amazing physical specimen that he is), this grind would kill them. We'd have no players left for the following season.  


Blogger Peter said...

This is my idea for the Fedex Cup format to turn it from another 4 sometimes meaningless tourneys into an elimination playoff allowing the top golfers to play to determine an ultimate winner given the Cup as champion for the year. Just as it is now, the top 64 point earners from the year qualify to play for the cup. There would be 4 tournaments of stroke play just as it is now except on the first weekend, bottom 32 play a smaller prize money tourney with the top 16 advancing to the following weekend. For the next weekend, those 16 money winners are combined with those ranked 9-16 and a larger prize money tourney is played having again the top 16 advance. On the third weekend, the top 8 for the year plus the 16 hottest players on tour, those who played through the first two weekends meet in an even bigger tourney. The prize money is increased a grander tournament is held and again the top 12 move into the final weekend. Those who survived will play a tourney for the cup at a gold platter event featuring a super bowl atmosphere at a premium location with a focus on the course, the players and the location. That's it. Just like the format now, there are 4 tournaments with the big change being every tourney increases exponentially in prize money and importance leaving those who aren't playing their best on the outside and all the best sticks and hottest players in an almost head to head stroke play competition. Every facet of the tourney gets more interesting as the stages progress. Every thing fits to create more and more interest as the competition ramps up towards the final weekend with an increase in attention on the individuals left standing. There will be intriguing cinderella stories, developing favorites and still enough protection to insure that the top dogs are in the finals. The last weekend will have a focus on each and every shot making for great tv. The generated interest and elimination format will foster advertising revenue, charity activities, and gaming potential. The premise remains the same, a reward for being a top point getter all year long in order to qualify to be the player of the year. The new format will mean winning a tournament against the others who have placed in the top half of one, two, or even three consecutive tourneys. It will allow for the player to be truly called champion for the year in a playoff system that can be related to other major sports. NFL and MLB have wildcard champions and the NBA has seeding with elimination in their playoffs. This format will not allow the champion to be crowned until the last putt falls and when he is crowned he will have survived the Fedex Cup golf playoffs!  


Post a Comment