FedEx Cup: Why the PGA Tour Has Made It Essential for All
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Starting next fall those who play on the PGA Tour will actually have to care about the FedEx Cup.
The FedEx Cup was created—along with the PGA Tour Playoffs—in 2007 to try to create a full-season buzz for all the PGA Tour events and not just majors and other big events like the World Golf Championships.
Aside from effectively shortening the season from November to September for the game’s biggest stars, the Tour was losing the battle in trying to conduct it’s season-ending championship against late-season college football and mid-season NFL action.
With a graduated four-week playoff that would see fields reduced each week, the plan was that those eyeballs that the PGA would not get in November may watch in September.
What the PGA Tour found was that the players themselves were just not really into one last four-week grind after a full year of playing 20-30 events.
While the format has changed a couple times to try to keep the interests of the big boys—outside of either the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup—most people's interests end for the season with the PGA Championship.
The PGA has pressed hard to get a buzz into golf’s last month, constantly updating the standings on television from the start of the season in January as though we are trying to follow a horse race. The players, on the other hand, seem to be indifferent to the whole thing, despite the added money from playing well in this autumn gauntlet.
Do You Care About The FedEx Cup?
Now the PGA has upped the ante, and with the 2013-14 season, a player's remaining on tour will be based on his FedEx Cup standing and not on being in the top 125 on the official money list.
If a player fails to make the PGA Tour Playoffs, then he gets thrown into a mix with the players on the Web.Com developmental tour to try to keep his PGA Tour standing.
The top 125 of the Web.com Tour and players 126-200 on the PGA Tour will have its own three-week playoff to sort out just who plays where.
Confused? Join the club.
The difference in money between the tours? As of last week, the 125th spot on the money list on the PGA Tour was good for $528,445 (PGA Tour). Gary Woodland, sitting at 126th on the money list, has earned $527,588 this year.
The leading money winner on the Web.com Tour is Paul Haley II. Haley’s take this year as of last week is $245,898 (PGA Tour).
That is a huge drop.
Under the current system, if Woodland missed the playoffs on points, then he could still make the top 125 in the PGA Tour Fall Series. The Fall Series currently carries no FedEx Cup points and is not played by anyone, really, that is considered a top player. A good last month, and Woodland can secure his card for next year.
Starting in the fall of 2013, those events will count towards the FedEx Cup.
If a player like Woodland is not in the top 125 on the points list the week after the PGA Championship, his status is no longer guaranteed.
The tour really, really, wants us to pay attention to this system. The PGA gets FedEx to pay millions for the right to sponsor it and is trying to come up with something to get not only our attention, but the attention of the players, as well.
Will people actually pay more attention? Maybe, as there should be some pretty compelling stories of young golfers trying to stay up.
The PGA Tour, on the other hand, has to give you a reason to care about the Gary Woodlands of the world. Just because a guy can possibly see his income drop from around $600,000 to $100,000 a year alone will not draw the casual viewer.
It will, on the other hand, make the player play harder.
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