Yesterday, the PGA Tour announced changes to its cash cow, better known as the FedExCup, that will supposedly “further fan engagement” and provide a better “understanding” of how its points system works.
A big chunk of the announcement was related to an increase in the cash bonuses, but the most talked about change was related to the Tour Championship, where, starting next season, the tournament winner will also be crowned the FedExCup Champion, thus avoiding any of last year’s confusing photo ops with Justin Thomas posing with the FedExCup, alongside Xander Schauffele, who was holding a golf club as the winner of the tournament.
While the end goal of producing a winner-take-all at East Lake was lauded, the implementation of what the PGA Tour is calling a “strokes-based bonus system” was mostly panned by fans and media alike. Under the new format, instead of a points reset, the points leader entering the Tour Championship will start the tournament at 10-under par with the next four players (Nos. 2-5) at 8- through 5-under par, respectively, down to the bottom five (26-30) starting at even-par.
The readers at PGATour.com, where the announcement was posted, let it rip. Here’s a sampling of ten comments:
- “When AP broke the story that the format would give a ‘head start’, golf fans, people on social media, and golf writers everywhere overwhelmingly panned it as a ridiculous idea. The TOUR had every opportunity to back away and rethink, but they did not. This is “for the fans”? Which ones?”
- “This is such bull$***. If I am a serious golfer I would be embarassed to start a tournament with a 10 stroke lead. Even more if this is the final tournament of the year.”
- “In addition to everything else that is silly about this, the guy with the most points can take a double on the first hole, and all the season’s advantage over numbers 2-5 is gone. What would make more sense is to make the last event match play, (32 qualify) and pair the players up 1 vs. 32, etc. After the first day lowest remaining seed plays highest remaining, etc.”
- “This is awful and one of the worst ideas I’ve ever seen. The whole week leading up to the championship people are going to be mocking this system and not tuning in.”
- “So now the FedEX remains a contrived farce with the added benefit of turning the TOUR Championship into the “Fall Handicap”. Kind of killed two birds with one stupid decision.
- EARTH to TOUR: Nobody but the players receiving the gazillions of $$$$ gives a rip about the FedEx Cup. The TOUR Championship WAS compelling as it brought the 30 best golfers of the year together for one final tournament. Now what we have is the Fall Handicap Championship. Yes it is the Championship flight. But still a handicap event.
- P.Reed is the Masters champ. Francesco the Champion Golfer of the Year. BK has the US Open, PGA and POY. That is all we will remember.”
- “So the Tour players now have handicaps? Do we now have low gross and low net? What does the winner of the third flight get?”
- “And this is supposed to be an improvement? Who are they kidding6!”
- “Do we get a windmill, Elephants head and bumpers to create bank shots as well? As the Commissioner said, they are trying to make things as ‘opaque” as possible ;).”