Tuesday, January 8, 2008

FedEx Cup Changes Coming?

Let me pull out the ole Colbert "I CALLED IT!" and refer you to John Hawkins in Golf World:

Not that anybody ever understood the FedEx Cup point-distribution system to begin with, but a series of significant changes will be submitted in a proposal to the Players Advisory Committee when it meets next month. In an attempt to make Woods and Mickelson play in all the postseason events, playoff points would increase dramatically, perhaps by as much as 2,000 per spot. For example, the value of a 10th-place finish in Boston would leap from 1,350 to 3,350.

What's strange about this option is that the 2,000-point raise runs consistently down to the player who finishes 70th, meaning a measly 100 points would become 2,100. Nobody ever said the tour doesn't reward mediocrity, but the official purpose of the increase is to generate more volatility in the postseason standings, something that was clearly missing in the 2007 debut.

This proposal still does not really address how the PGA Tour plans to respond to the European Tour's Dubai World Championship starting in 2009 - which I predicted would be coming also. Still, the Tour seems to be trying to address volatility in the points race.

The interesting part of anything that the Tour does to create competitive balance and more opportunities is that they are always trying to appeal to the mediocre professional. After all, there are way more Robert Gamezs than there are Tiger Woods. The mediocre players deftly benefit from the money that the top players bring to the game.

In 2007, they did manage to get much of the pie from the FedEx Cup, though. They are seeking to change that and THAT is the real motivation of these proposed changes. It has very little to do with making the FedEx Cup more interesting or compelling. It is all about giving the opportunity to cash in to the B and C list players for what A list players do. Joe Ogilvie proves the point for me.
"As it turned out, the top 22 [regular-season finishers] had a free pass to the Tour Championship," Ogilvie says, referring to the 30-man season finale. "I think the consensus is that we'd like that number to be a lot smaller."
He could have simply said that he thought fan interest would increase with a more volatile points distribution. He chose not to do that.

My question, as a sports fan, is whether or not fans get sick and tired of mediocre players making over a million dollars per season on Tour just by hanging around in 30 events per year? I know I do.

No comments: