PGA Tour: The FedEx Play-Offs: Notes from the Ballwasher

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Post by kwinigolfer on Wed Aug 07, 2019 4:56 am

1).Whatever anyone thinks about the 2018/2019 schedule, the fact remains that the PGA Tour's efforts to monopolise the year's golfing calendar culminate these next three weeks in the FedEx Play Offs and, at latest count, 121 of the 125 leading FedEx Points earners over the past 10 or 11 months get to play for $gazillions.

2).I'm inclined to agree with Eamon Lynch writing in GolfWeek that it would be nice if the PGA "Tour worried about what golf fans want to see, and not football fans".
But money talks and has usurped sports in every corner of the world so why should golf be any different? Perhaps FedEx will deploy their immense resources somewhere else one day, but for now we're stuck with this year's schedule.
Or at least until they decide that the NFL's "Pre Season" should also take precedence and the FedEx Play-Offs will occur before, or perhaps simultaneously with, The Open Championship?

3).FedEx Champ Justin Rose has already lamented the changes and clearly other leading pros are reviewing their seasons in light of the "compressed" series of big events.
The one comment that should resonate with the Tour is Jack Nicklaus's reflection of what made the Tour what it is, the series of "community" events staged around the country, and which are slowly being superseded by the series of mega tournaments thru'out the year - it's not clear yet whether the smaller events, and last week's stop in Greensboro could be a case in point, have regressed from "endangered species" to potentially "extinct", but the threat is there.
And, what an irony that the Tour incessantly trumpets the "charitable contributions" generated by the Tour (which helps protect the Tour's tax status), but renders expendable those events, especially in Texas, which annually makes the largest of those contributions.

4).But this is America, or at least the Big Tour, and it is what it is.

5).The Play-Offs have lost a tournament since last year, and the "Northern Trust" will now be shared by the Boston and New York markets, which in itself reminds one how ludicrous it is that NYC only gets half a Tour event per year.
125 golfers qualify for the Northern Trust, and the leading 70 in FedEx Points at close of play Sunday advance to Medinah in Chicago and the "BMW".
Then 30 move on to Hotlanta, whose event has morphed into a handicap tournament which is just about the most absurd thing in sporting history. Almost as bad as ending football games on penalties. (Rumours here that the NRA plans to take the Tour Championship over and initiate a shotgun start.)

6).I won't try to explain the handicap system as I still can't wrap by brain around it, but suffice it so say that pgatour.com describes it as offering "more drama, simplicity". You be the judge.

7).The big FedEx beneficiaries over the years have mostly been the usual suspects, but worth noting their accumulated "bonus pool" goodies nevertheless. The Top 12 have all piled up $10mil or more. $K:
28,275: Woods
15,900: McIlroy
15,247: Furyk
14,665: Spieth
14,508: Rose
13,758: Stenson
12,298: Snedeker
11,645: Horschel
11,475: Bill Haas
11,272: Singh
11,145: Thomas
10,557: Dustin Johnson
Followed by Stricker, Mickelson, Kuchar, Donald, Day.

7).Among those named above, it is quite possible that Messrs Haas and Donald will reappear, not in these Play-Offs but in the KFC series which begins on Thursday week for the leading 75 "Korn Ferry" players and #126 to #200 on the FedEx Points table. I wonder if Alex Noren will participate?

8).With 55 golfers destined to be eliminated after the Northern Trust, their next chance to tee it up on Tour will be the second week in September, in West Virginia's Greenbrier Resort. Followed by:
Sanderson Farms, Jackson, Mississippi
Safeway, Napa Valley, California
Las Vegas
Houston
Far East limited field money grabs
Bermuda (opposite field event the same week as the WGC in China)
Mayakoba, Mexico
RSM, Sea Island, Georgia

9).Sergio Garcia tees it up this week, needing a good result to move on. I'll defend Sergio to the hilt until he goes over the edge, which he seems to have done temperamentally these past few months. Will he sit himself down and take a time out, a la 2010? Or will the Tour do it for him? Both the European and PGA Tours need to be more transparent about discipline and hopefully the European Tour will publish any sanctions against Sergio and, also, of course, Thorbjorn Olesen.  

10).Off for a couple of days of tennis, a little easier for me to figure out than these Play-Offs.

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Post by pedro on Wed Aug 07, 2019 8:09 am

Re. 9
Official now that the ET has suspended Thunderbeer until at least after his court date 21 August.
Good news is he’s exempt for next years Heineken Classic..
#justdoit

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Post by beninho on Wed Aug 07, 2019 9:04 am

Still think the playoffs should be a straight knock out over 3 events. So much more fun.

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Post by Roller_Coaster on Wed Aug 07, 2019 7:14 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:

5).The Play-Offs have lost a tournament since last year, and the "Northern Trust" will now be shared by the Boston and New York markets, which in itself reminds one how ludicrous it is that NYC only gets half a Tour event per year.
125 golfers qualify for the Northern Trust, and the leading 70 in FedEx Points at close of play Sunday advance to Medinah in Chicago and the "BMW".
Then 30 move on to Hotlanta, whose event has morphed into a handicap tournament which is just about the most absurd thing in sporting history. Almost as bad as ending football games on penalties. (Rumours here that the NRA plans to take the Tour Championship over and initiate a shotgun start.)

Tee hee hee

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Post by wiretapper on Wed Aug 07, 2019 7:49 pm

I reckon the Tour fielded a lot of calls after last year's Tour Championship asking "If Tiger won, how come he didn't win the big bonus?"

From Furyk in 2010 to Rory in 2016 the Tour Championship winner also won the Fed-Ex cup and the Tour probably never entertained the thought of changing the system but I think Thomas and Rose winning the Cup in 2017 and 2018 respectively without winning the Tour Championship (something I found refreshing) has led to this radical rethink.

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Post by pedro on Wed Aug 07, 2019 8:06 pm

Roller_Coaster wrote:
kwinigolfer wrote:
(Rumours here that the NRA plans to take the Tour Championship over and initiate a shotgun start.)

Tee hee hee
Obviously it's for protection only. (of the field)

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Post by kwinigolfer on Wed Aug 07, 2019 9:51 pm

Should have noted that last week's winner, JT Poston, completed his 72 holes without a bogey, the first Tour winner to do so since Lee Trevino in 1974.
Others have played 72 holes without a bogey but not won, Scott Piercy & CHIII among them.


Would think Olesen is in deep trouble if the sexual assault charge sticks . . . . . . another blow to the ET's tournaments' "strength of field" stat for owgr purposes.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Wed Aug 07, 2019 10:11 pm

This is pgatour.com's extrapolation of scenarios necessary for advancing from New York to Chicago:

https://www.pgatour.com/news/2019/08/05/scenarios-fedexcup-playoffs-top-70-the-northern-trust-bmw-championship.html



What it doesn't point out is that Rafa is #59, so presumably he's OK despite not playing this week. Can't imagine he'll play next week anyway, but he's the most frequent of golf's frequent flyers so you never know.

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Post by McLaren on Wed Aug 07, 2019 10:37 pm

On point three isn't Jack's memorial one of the super events?


On the schedule, I still like my idea of a fall major, and I don't care how that impacts the FedEx.

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Post by I'm never wrong on Wed Aug 07, 2019 11:19 pm

kwinigolfer wrote:1)

6).I won't try to explain the handicap system as I still can't wrap by brain around it, but suffice it so say that pgatour.com describes it as offering "more drama, simplicity". You be the judge.

At the Tour Championship the FedEx Leader starts on 10 under par,
Second place - 8 under
3rd - 7 under
4th - 6 under
5th - 5 under
6th to 10th - 4 under
11th to 15th - 3 under
16th to 20th - 2 under
21st to 25th - 1 under
26th to 30th - level par.





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Post by McLaren on Wed Aug 07, 2019 11:36 pm

That is the most gimmicky system ever tried in a professional sporting event. If you want to guarantee the player who has played the best over a season wins the FedEx then use an order of merit.
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Post by pedro on Wed Aug 07, 2019 11:37 pm

Cheers INW,
Had it been a USGA event the leader would have started 10 over par and #26th-30th 20 over.

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Post by pedro on Wed Aug 07, 2019 11:38 pm

McLaren wrote:That is the most gimmicky system ever tried in a professional sporting event. If you want to guarantee the player who has played the best over a season wins the FedEx then use an order of merit.
But that's not what they want (although they did shoehorn in the Wyndham trophy). They want excitement till the very end. Do you remember when Vijay had won it already after the first playoff event?

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Post by McLaren on Wed Aug 07, 2019 11:59 pm

Big wins can happen in sport if someone plays well, so what?

Shane won the open by 6 this year, should he and Tommy have played the 72nd with the scores reset for drama?
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Post by pedro on Thu Aug 08, 2019 12:59 am

The argument would be that many viewers turned off their TV on the back 9. (Would never have happened in the Tiger era though...)

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Post by kwinigolfer on Thu Aug 08, 2019 1:19 am

Vijay was a turn-off to the US viewer whether he won by ten or in a ten-way play-off. The anti-Tiger. Just like Sergio!

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Post by Shotrock on Thu Aug 08, 2019 1:28 am

Kwin - Re: Vijay ... Huh? Certainly not a generalization I agree with.

Sergio is a pea-brained fool who has little control over his emotions. If anything The "US viewer" has given him much more of pass than he ever deserved (IMO of course).

To this "US viewer" Vijay was/is a total professional that goes about his job, works incredibly hard and never just goes through the motions.

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Post by wiretapper on Thu Aug 08, 2019 1:42 am

I think there is a cultural aspect to it as well though.

There are football fans in the UK that have an issue with a team finishing 6th in the Championship getting promoted via the play-offs whereas in the US a an NFL team could finish the regular season 9-7, scrape into the playoffs and go on and win the Super Bowl (I'm looking at you Giants furious) and it is regarded as hitting form at the right time.

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Post by Davie on Thu Aug 08, 2019 6:39 am

McLaren wrote:Big wins can happen in sport if someone plays well, so what?

But you can't accept a high handicapper shooting 13 under handicap?

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Post by I'm never wrong on Thu Aug 08, 2019 9:16 am

I thought the purpose of this handicapping system was to make it clear to viewers and spectators exactly the position of each player. If he’s in the lead after the 72nd hole, he wins: when previously that’s not necessarily been the case. Same for second place and so on.

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Post by McLaren on Thu Aug 08, 2019 10:06 am

Davie wrote:
McLaren wrote:Big wins can happen in sport if someone plays well, so what?

But you can't accept a high handicapper shooting 13 under handicap?

No. There are big wins and impossible wins.
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Post by robopz on Thu Aug 08, 2019 10:45 am

The problem with the Tour Championship format is they are trying to accomplish two different kinds of things (a TOUR Championship golf tournament and a season-long FedEx Cup) with one single kind of tournament.  IMO it can't be done.  You can do one right and the other wrong or vice versa, and you can do both wrong... But there's no format to do both right.

You can set a decent format to decide season long FedEx Cup champion with a dramatic finale... And actually this handicap format might be pretty good at doing that..

But it's an awful format for deciding the winner of a real live "official" golf tournament.  In effect we have a net/gross tournament.  PGA Tour will award the TOUR Championship and FedEx Cup trophy on LOW NET scoring... Meanwhile the OWGR will allocate winners and other finish points based on LOW GROSS.   I guess the only thing left to decide for the Tour Championship is on which holes do they sell the Mulligans..

PGA Tour: The FedEx Play-Offs: Notes from the Ballwasher Sheesh10

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Post by Roller_Coaster on Thu Aug 08, 2019 10:43 pm

Davie wrote:
McLaren wrote:Big wins can happen in sport if someone plays well, so what?

But you can't accept a high handicapper shooting 13 under handicap?

Well played sir. In Ghostbusters parlance, nice use of crossing the streams.

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Post by I'm never wrong on Thu Aug 08, 2019 10:52 pm

Woods playing in front of one man and his dog. Gates not open until 10 am local time. Commentators saying that will be about Hal way through his round.

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Post by I'm never wrong on Thu Aug 08, 2019 11:13 pm

Ouch! Webb Simpson may have to play 5 off the tee. First two shots off the 10th in the deep deep rough.

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Post by pedro on Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:15 am

I'm never wrong wrote:Woods playing in front of one man and his dog.
Don't think he's really sad about that. After all he's probably also been up since 3 am to get to his 7.30 am tee time. Plus he gets to feel how it is to be a European Tour journeyman.

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Post by Roller_Coaster on Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:26 am

pedro wrote:
I'm never wrong wrote:Woods playing in front of one man and his dog.
Don't think he's really sad about that. After all he's probably also been up since 3 am to get to his 7.30 am tee time. Plus he gets to feel how it is to be a European Tour journeyman.

Did he not speak to Kaymer to find that out?

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Post by pedro on Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:33 am

Roller_Coaster wrote:
pedro wrote:
I'm never wrong wrote:Woods playing in front of one man and his dog.
Don't think he's really sad about that. After all he's probably also been up since 3 am to get to his 7.30 am tee time. Plus he gets to feel how it is to be a European Tour journeyman.

Did he not speak to Kaymer to find that out?
I think he wanted. But realised that the chances of these two running into each other were pretty slim.

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Post by sirbenson on Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:44 am

Will Tiger pick himself for the Presidents Cup....Can't imagine the current Masters Champion can leave himself out!

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Post by Roller_Coaster on Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:58 am

pedro wrote:
Roller_Coaster wrote:
pedro wrote:
I'm never wrong wrote:Woods playing in front of one man and his dog.
Don't think he's really sad about that. After all he's probably also been up since 3 am to get to his 7.30 am tee time. Plus he gets to feel how it is to be a European Tour journeyman.

Did he not speak to Kaymer to find that out?
I think he wanted. But realised that the chances of these two running into each other were pretty slim.

Airport Friday night?

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Post by super_realist on Fri Aug 09, 2019 6:30 am

9C is surely finished for the season now, and he certainly is looking very 9C these days. What is going on with his face? It's all fat and bloated like a beachball.

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Post by GPB on Fri Aug 09, 2019 11:59 am

Have you heard the latest stupid (yet very possible) scenario of the FEDEX Cup?

Suppose a player, lets call him "Troy Merritt", wins Northern Trust and BMW. Far and away the runaway leader going into the Tour Championship in Atlanta

He gets injured, or sick, and has to WD from the Tour Championship

His final FEDEX Standing.

30th

I really can't see this current format lasting any longer than 2020.

How about this rejected format for the Tour Championship

FEDEX leader going into Atlanta gets 1 Mulligan per Round (4 total)
2nd-5th places gets 1 Mulligan per day, for Round 1, 2, and 3 (3 total)
6th -10th places gets 1 Mulligan per day, for Rounds 1 & 2 (2 total)
11-20th places get 1 Mulligan in Round 1
21st - 30th places get NO MULLIGANS

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Post by pedro on Fri Aug 09, 2019 6:51 pm

GPB, I think you have to up the number of Mulligans for the leaders. It'd only be a potential gain of (estimated) 4-6 shots between the leader and no. 30.

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Post by robopz on Fri Aug 09, 2019 11:07 pm

pedro wrote:GPB, I think you have to up the number of Mulligans for the leaders. It'd only be a potential gain of (estimated) 4-6 shots between the leader and no. 30.
they could add a closest to the pin on one of the par 3s each day for the deduction of another stroke.  That would make it even more like the 3rd flight of my local member-guest.

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Post by McLaren on Fri Aug 09, 2019 11:29 pm

Why not just drop the charade and move the event to the local crazy golf course.
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Post by pedro on Sat Aug 10, 2019 12:00 am

What about closest to the pin for an extra $1M - just like the Tiger-Phil thing?

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Post by I'm never wrong on Sat Aug 10, 2019 12:00 am

As I said in an earlier post, I thought the point of this "gimmick" is to make it clear where a player is on the "FedEx" leaderboard.
Surely in this day and age with only 30 players, they could have a buggy following each pairing with an electronic display showing where they are in the tournament, and in the FedEx standings.

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Post by sirbenson on Sat Aug 10, 2019 1:09 am

Tiger has withdrawn with an Oblique injury

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Post by McLaren on Sat Aug 10, 2019 1:15 am

I said that he should have retired after the Masters and I stick by that. He will now draw out the inevitable with a string of poor form and WD's through injury.
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Post by super_realist on Sat Aug 10, 2019 6:08 am

sirbenson wrote:Tiger has withdrawn with an Oblique injury

Bet there wouldn't have even been the suggestion of an injury were he level par in the first round. He's done a Serena Williams and gone in a huff because he's playing gash.

Has there ever been a more injury prone player? He's the Andy Carrol or Jack Wilshere of golf.

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Post by GPB on Sat Aug 10, 2019 7:06 am

Kaymer has a set on him to ask for an exemption

https://twitter.com/Gritzel15/status/1159836643295031297?s=19

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Post by pedro on Sat Aug 10, 2019 10:23 am

sirbenson wrote:Tiger has withdrawn with an Oblique injury
See you in April.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat Aug 10, 2019 8:37 pm

Shotrock wrote:Kwin - Re: Vijay ... Huh?  Certainly not a generalization I agree with.



To this "US viewer" Vijay was/is a total professional that goes about his job, works incredibly hard and never just goes through the motions.


Hi Sr,
Agree with that, but those qualities never translated into ratings from the casual fan. Which is what the FedEx action is surely so anxious for?


Just catching up after watching some terrific sport from similarly charisma-deficient pros (tho' Felix A-A may change that!).

And talking of Kaymer, he'll be missing the KFC Series but Harding, Hovland, Lahiri, Lipski and Shanka will be. No Sergio tho' . . . . . .
EDIT: And Chappell, Lovemark will be there, plus Smylie Kaufman, Mahan & Uihlein. (Plus Power & Jaeger.)

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Post by I'm never wrong on Sat Aug 10, 2019 9:00 pm

Is there a MDF this week?

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sat Aug 10, 2019 9:10 pm

I'm never wrong wrote:Is there a MDF this week?

NO! I think the new rules mean MDF is now extinct.

They're (Carlos Ortiz playing as a single) starting at sunrise, or a few minutes before. (Actually 7.00 a.m.)


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Post by GPB on Sun Aug 11, 2019 12:00 am

Freddie Jac is in the KFTF field as well.

Guess they are counting points before the major medicals to get players like Freddie, Smylie, Morgan Hoffmann, Lovemark, Weekley into the KFTF as all of them are outside the Top 200

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Post by I'm never wrong on Sun Aug 11, 2019 2:55 am

Seems the knives are out for Bryson. BBC article
I was watching if the putt they are talking about was the one. He took an interminable time.....and then missed it.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun Aug 11, 2019 3:06 am

I'm never wrong wrote:Seems the knives are out for Bryson. BBC article
I was watching if the putt they are talking about was the one. He took an interminable time.....and then missed it.


Just saw that! It would be nice if the US players also lent their voices to the criticism - presumably Koepka learned to call a spade a spade when playing in Europe.

Pot calling the kettle black though when Ross Fisher weighs in - he must be one of the very few pros to be penalised a shot for dawdling when actually in contention. Thank you John Paramor.

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Post by super_realist on Sun Aug 11, 2019 5:42 pm

I've always wondered what is to stop two faster players simply moving on from a slow player, playing ready golf and finishing the hole. He's soon get the message if the other guys are walking off the green and he's still going through his pre shot routine on the fairway.

Also, why would anyone think that taking longer over a shot gets better results? Surely it just builds tension, indecision and uncertainty. Pick your target, hit the shot.

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Post by kwinigolfer on Sun Aug 11, 2019 6:34 pm

Couldn't agree more, but Sabbatini pretty much did that to Ben Crane at Congressional a dozen years ago and got roundly castigated for it.

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