My fix for the FedEx Cup
A lot of thoughts on how to fix something that may or may not be broken have crossed the printed page and the digital wire of late. I recognize that many purists of the golfing game want to see match play enter the discussion when it comes to the FedEx cup. These pundits point to the NCAA men’s championship and say “look how exciting that tournament has become” over the course of the past few years. The favorites do not win, but they come close, say I.
Here is my fix for the FedEx cup: Take the top 100 players (sorry, next 25, but you’re done after the Wyndham) and let them play each of the first three tournaments that make up the playoffs. After the BMW championship, cut the field to 72 and send them to Atlanta. Exempt the top eight through to Thursday (more on that later.) On Monday and Wednesday of tournament week, have numbers nine through seventy-two play one 36-hole match to cut the match-play field down to 16 (get it? 32 left after Monday, 16 left after Wednesday.) You’ll lose some of the upper-middle seeds, but so what? After all, you’ve protected yourself by exempting the elite eight, or have you?
Here comes the brilliant part. While the 16 survivors get Thursday off, your exempt eight play one 36-hole match within their bracket. The four that survive join the rested 16 for four rounds of stroke play. How does that work, you ask, since there are only three days left? Well, play 18 on Friday, 36 on Saturday and 18 more on Sunday.
You asked for it, now you have it. Similar to the Western Amateur, the most demanding event on the summer amateur circuit, the Tour Championship will now have a unique structure to match its unique position on the schedule:
–The match play is a part of the whole, but does not define it to such an extent that all the favorites will be eliminated.
–As many pros will readily decree, the 18-hole match is too brief to allow the better player to triumph. While it’s true that Fluff Cowan might actually beat Tiger Woods in an 18-hole match, the better player (still might be Fluff!) will certainly reveal himself over the course of 36 holes.
–You give the first-round winners a Tuesday of rest in between the two matches to regain their strength…have the top eight play an exhibition that day or a pro-am along with the 32 first-round losers to keep things alive.
–The 36 holes on Saturday are a reverential salute to the old, 36-hole Sundays at the US Open. If weather looks crummy, move the 36 to Friday.
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