Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Few Fixes to the FedEx Cup

Starting Thursday, the always anticipated, never duplicated (well, except for that Race to Dubai thing), FedEx Cup kicks off, meaning we have four grueling weeks of playoff golf before all the big shots disappear from the PGA Tour until January, never to be seen again except for a shot stint in Australia for the Presidents Cup. Trust me, the FedEx Cup is a saggy weight to the golf season, but I must say, it's been a better success the last couple of years than I expected. That said, it still needs some work, and here are a few ideas they could implement to make it a little better in the coming years.

Stop Forcing Us To Care Early in the Season -- One of my favorite parts of going to the Waste Management Open each year is walking in the media center and seeing the HUGE FedEx Cup standings poster for all the writers to see. Remember, the WaMo is in early February, but still, all week, you're looking at who is leading these playoffs. Tell me this - two weeks into the MLB season, are analysts talking about the playoffs? No, they're talking about the early action, the surprises, the story lines, and who to watch in the coming weeks. I get that the idea is to promote this stuff all year, but forcing broadcasters to talk about it early on and always putting up the standings next to the names seems like a waste, and turns people off more than it gets people excited.

Allow the FedEx Cup Leader at a Certain Point Pick the Opening Venue -- While I know this doesn't work for a ton of logistical reasons, why not say after the PGA Championship, the guy leading in points gets to pick between three golf courses for the first event. What does this do? Well, first, it gives the guy that won the regular season (something far more difficult considering the amount of players than actually winning the playoffs) to have an advantage on something. Not a fan of Plainfield? Well, you get two more New Jersey courses to snag. Also, if you do it two or three weeks before, it allows that golf course to prepare. Now, again, I'm sure logistically this doesn't have a snowballs chance, but something for the regular season winner seems right.

Make it Less Complicated -- Honestly, I'm sorry, but 96 percent of golf fans don't really "get it," for many different reasons. Points are greater here, but not there? You get so many points for which tournament? The fields cut down to what after when? It could be more simple, and simplicity is what this country likes, especially with their sports. Don't believe me? What's the most hated playoff system in sports? The BCS, and that thing is more complicated than the ongoing debt ceiling crisis.

No Week Off Between the Deutsche Bank and BMW -- This is dumb. It's not the Super Bowl. Take this away and do it now. Thanks.

Implement More Match Play -- This is the playoffs, so why isn't it head-to-head? I don't get this. All playoffs are a team versus another team, but with this, it's still just a golf tournament, with nothing really different. Make match play a priority, which brings me to my favorite idea ...

Allow the Tour Championship to Be "Pick-Up Game" Format -- You know how the hockey All-Star game to went a captain's pick style, where you draft the players you want on your team? Why can't the PGA Tour do this, like the LPGA does with their match play. If you're the number one player heading into the final event, you get to pick who you play against. The good news is, the "picking" portion could be a special on Golf Channel and would draw interest.

A wrinkle I like -- the matches are ranked, so the number one player in the FedEx Cup standings is Match #1, and after each round, that winner gets precedent over the picks, so if whoever the top player picks beats him, they automatically get top pick for round two. I think it would make it interesting, and would bring a different type of edge into the game of golf. Plus, it would just be fun.

Again, the FedEx Cup has done better, but it still needs a few tweaks. Also, can we just have something that says Tiger Woods can always play even if he finishes 492 on the money list? Thanks.


Will o'the Glen said...

The biggest problem w/match play is that single-elimination match play doesn't pit each player against the entire field. Have a bad afternoon against a guy you would beat 90 times out of 100 and you're slammin' the trunk --- gone.

That's no way to end your season.

Shane B. said...

But isn't that what playoffs are all about? Example #1 - 2011 Seattle Seahawks ... Example #2 - 2009 Arizona Cards

Peter Jacobse said...

Ditch the obscene ten million dollar bonus!

Jono said...

All good ideas.
I think that all points should be reset at the start of the playoffs. Then if you dont make the top 100 after week one or whatever it is, you're gone.

justincup said...

Will, I'm with Shane on this one, including the NY Giants over NE Patriots in his examples of great playoff upsets. Besides, every one of the guys in the field gets money. In fact, the Tour Championship should be match play for the top 30 (make it a 32-man field, and give #1 and #2 a first-round bye). Imagine match play for $10 million!

Plus, all those PGA tour exemptions (tour cards, Masters, U.S. Open, etc.) that are now based on money list finishes should be based on FedEx Cup points. It's silly to have both, and just plain wrong to allow players to move up the money list in the Fall against lesser competition.