PGA Tour FedEx Cup Playoffs: 2 Adjustments That Still Need to Be Made
Jason Dufner, the third-ranked player in the FedEx Cup point standings, is absent this week at The Barclays.
“Need a week off,” Dufner said at last week’s Wyndham Championship, where he recorded his eighth top-10 finish of the season.
“Playing the Tour Championship and then the weeks before, after that the Ryder Cup. It's big events with me for the rest of the year. Going to get a little bit of rest and get fresh for the first two events that I'll be playing in The Playoffs and really look forward to the Tour Championship and playing in the Ryder Cup,” Dufner continued.
Sergio Garcia, who is currently leading The Barclays, has already announced that he will not be attending next week’s Deutsche Bank Championship.
“I need to take a week off somewhere, and unfortunately that’s the only one that I can think of,” Garcia said yesterday afternoon at The Barclays, via pgatour.com.
It would come as no surprise whatsoever if Tiger Woods, who spent five hours yesterday afternoon struggling through lower back pain, announced that he too will not be making the trip north to Boston next week.
Many people will be quick to leap to the conclusion that even a $10 million payday isn’t enough to get these multimillionaires out of their mansions to play several weeks in a row.
But, that might not necessarily be the case. Ten million dollars is a lot of money to any player out there, including the likes of Woods and Phil Mickelson. There are also numerous other titles still up for grabs, including the Vardon Trophy, the Player of the Year award, the money title and, of course, the FedEx Cup title.
The issue is neither the money nor the lack of desire on the part of players to win the FedEx Cup title.
The issue comes down to scheduling and a playoff point system that still needs some work.
This stretch really began three weeks ago at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
Most of the top players in the world would have attended the Bridgestone Invitational and the PGA Championship the very next week. They would have taken a week off last week and then played five out of the next six weeks, including the Ryder Cup.
Now, if the FedEx Cup title and the $10 million prize were truly out of the question if a player missed just one playoff event, it is logical to assume that you would see very few, if any, players deciding to skip one of the next four events.
But, that is not the case.
Dufner is currently second in the FedEx Cup point standings. By relaxing at home this weekend, Dufner will likely drop to fifth- or sixth-place in the standings at worst. With a top-10 next week, he would likely move up into that top-three spot again heading into the BMW Championship...essentially, it’s a no-harm, no-foul situation for Dufner.
However, if steep penalties such as a severe loss of points or even disqualification from the playoffs were handed down for missing a playoff event, you can be assured that Dufner would be spending his weekend out at Bethpage Black.
This is not an issue that will go away under this current FedEx Cup system.
If the PGA Tour wants to keep the current point system in place, it is going to have to modify the end-of-year schedule in order to entice players to attend each of the four playoff events.
If the PGA Tour either doesn’t want to or doesn’t have a reasonable option to change the playoff schedule, well, it is simply going to have to adjust the point system yet again.
One of the two would undoubtedly solve the issue of players deciding to skip what the PGA Tour had hoped would be four of the most important events of the year.
If no action whatsoever is taken, well, Ponte Vedra Beach can’t really get its feathers ruffled when some of the game’s top players decide to skip FedEx Cup playoff events. Players are simply taking advantage of the system they have been given. But, if the PGA Tour is adamant about players attending each of the four playoff events, well, the system simply needs to be modified.
After all, you can’t leave your back door open all day and then be surprised when you come home and find your dog has disappeared.
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