Tuesday, August 6

Now 13, FedEx Cup Playoffs Are Still Awkward and In Search of Identity

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THE FEDEX CUP PLAYOFFS ARE still kind of odd, right? They're constantly changing, and I wonder if it's in a good way. Sort of like those awkward teen years, which the playoffs have just begun. It's the 13th season. Where has the time gone?

This month of August it's goodbye PGA Championship, hello FedEx Cup Playoffs. Not a bad idea, I suppose, if you're hellbent on finishing before the NFL kicks off.

There are three playoff tournaments instead of four: this week's Northern Trust, then the BMW Championship, then the finale, the Tour Championship at East Lake in Atlanta. Also probably a good thing.

There's more money (from $35 million to $60 million) and only one winner at the Tour Championship, the FedEx Cup champion. (No individual tournament winner.)

I won't attempt to explain the points system, but I'll instead refer you to the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup Playoffs Primer, here.

At PGATOUR.COM Mike McAllister wrote about one of the biggest changes:
Instead of a points reset used in the previous format, the new format for East Lake [at the Tour Championship] starting this season involves a strokes-based bonus system called FedExCup Starting Strokes. Each player will start with a score (relative to par) corresponding to his position in FedExCup points after the BMW Championship. Here’s the breakdown:

FedExCup rank
entering East Lake
Starting
Strokes
No. 110 under
No. 28 under
No. 37 under
No. 46 under
No. 55 under
Nos. 6-104 under
Nos. 11-153 under
Nos. 16-202 under
Nos. 21-251 under
Nos. 26-30Even par

How we feel about this when it's all over is hard to say. Teenagers can sorely disappoint or pleasantly surprise us, or a little bit of both.

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