Revamping the Fed Ex Cup, Part 2: Too Many Invitations

Benjamin HoganAnalyst IAugust 15, 2008

The purpose of a playoff system is to determine one true champion by allowing only the best teams and players to compete against each other.

So in golf, the FedEx Cup "playoffs" should be, in essence, a special tour where only the most proven players are invited to compete.

Unfortunately, the PGA Tour doesn't understand that.


It seems like almost the entire PGA Tour is invited to the FedEx Cup.

Every week, golf fans are bombarded with endless commercials promoting the "race for the FedEx Cup." They tell us about the immense pressure that PGA players feel week-to-week, struggling hard to make it into the FedEx Cup's $10 million showdown.

But, those commercials are a complete farce. For a sizable portion of the PGA Tour, qualifying for the FedEx Cup is little more than an afterthought.

Next week at the FedEx Cup's first playoff tournament (The Barclays), a massive field of 144 players will be invited.

That's more than half of the 262 PGA Tour players who have earned FedEx Cup points this year!

So, for PGA Tour players, all things being equal, it's actually harder not to make the playoffs!


There's no drama to see who will make the playoffs, and who will be left out. 

Shut your eyes for a moment and think about the final days of the NFL and MLB seasons.

There's tons of excitement about teams on the playoff "bubble."

We tune in to see which teams will emerge victorious, elated that they'll have a chance to achieve glory.

We also tune in to see which teams will sulk in defeat, knowing that their hopes to pursue a championship were so close, but extinguished in the blink of an eye.

The FedEx Cup has absolutely none of that drama.

Have a gander at the less-than-mediocre golfers who will be fighting it out for the last spots in the playoffs.

As of today, the players just above the 144-player cut line are: Roland Thatcher, Glen Day, Jeff Overton, and Gavin Coles.

The players just short of the cut line are: Tag Ridings, Todd Hamilton, Justin Bolli, and Brett Rumford.

Boy, excitement will be all around this week at the Wyndham Championship, huh? I bet you'll be glued to your TV to see if Justin Bolli can squeak up the standings to knock out poor Gavin Coles.

Or, on second thought, there's always archery and javelin throwing over on NBC's Olympic coverage. 

Over the past few weeks, CBS and the Golf Channel have displayed each players'  FedEx Cup point standing in a huge font beside their score graphic.

That would be great if anyone cared. But, quite honestly, I don't tune in to golf to learn that Jon Mills is ranked 138th in FedEx Cup points.

Is it just a bit contradictory that players who consistently miss cuts are invited to what is supposed to be the PGA Tour's grand jewel?


All that being said, the FedEx Cup would be a terrific event if the field were cut down.

Let's say instead of 144 players, the PGA Tour invites only 30 to the FedEx Cup.

Well, now we've got an extraordinary event.

A smaller field ensures that only the season's brightest stars make the playoffs, and adds a tinge of drama to the regular season's final tournaments.

Just hovering above the cut line are Andres Romero, Ben Curtis, Ernie Els, Stephen Ames, and Hunter Mahan.

Just below are Bart Bryant, Rod Pampling, Jerry Kelly, and Woody Austin.

Those are all names that golf fans know and care about.

Therefore, fans will surely be keeping a close eye on those final few tournaments to see who continues to play for enormous sums of cash in the playoffs, and who is off to spend the next month on the range with Butch Harmon and Dave Pelz.

And how about this, PGA: want to add a little spice to the PGA Championship? Make it the final tournament for players to earn FedEx Cup points.

Then, every year the PGA Championship would be important in three different respects: a major championship, the last chance to earn Ryder/President's Cup points, and the last chance to make the FedEx Cup.

How's that for drama?


    Murray Holds 1-Stroke Lead After 1st Round at Valero Open

    Golf logo

    Murray Holds 1-Stroke Lead After 1st Round at Valero Open

    Adam Wells
    via Bleacher Report

    Here's What Tiger Has in Store for His First Public Course

    Golf logo

    Here's What Tiger Has in Store for His First Public Course

    Report: Charles Schwab to Sponsor Colonial Event

    Golf logo

    Report: Charles Schwab to Sponsor Colonial Event

    Golf Channel
    via Golf Channel

    Fire Damages National Golf Links of America Clubhouse

    Golf logo

    Fire Damages National Golf Links of America Clubhouse

    Joel Beall
    via Golf Digest