How the PGA Tour emptied its own championship


Not playing the role of a frog in the punchbowl or whatever, but that fabulous play-off last Sunday between Flatstick Maniac and Brawny Brainiac is a virtual impossibility at this week’s Tour Championship, which hasn’t become a golf tournament that Bryson DeChambeau is not a diplomat.

The most recent changes to the FedEx Cup (2019) playoff format turned the season finale in Atlanta into a pie-cutting contest. Each of the 30 pastry chefs will have four days to carve out as large a slice of the $ 60 million dessert as their 14 clubs will allow. The grand prize recipient gets a quarter of the cake, that $ 15 million obviously being a truckload of dough, but the 30 contestants leave town fat and happy, certainly more chubby than when they arrived.

There is nothing terribly criminal about turning the last event on the show into a game show. There is, however, an illogical downside to this week’s festivities that reflects the faulty structure of the entire FedEx Cup playoff formula. Much of this stems from the weighted scoring system used at East Lake. In an effort to reward recent performances and generate long-term suspense with hit allowances, the PGA Tour has managed to further confuse the public and undermine the credibility of its playoff franchise by using a layout commonly associated with the Tuesday night gathering at your local club.

Tour pros don’t get hit. Period.

Especially when they’re playing for $ 60 million.

Sadly, we’re talking more of a business venture than a sports league, and Camp Ponte Vedra is perfectly willing to adjust its definition of competitive integrity to popularize its product. Why no chance of a duel in Atlanta like this dazzling Patrick Cantlay-DeChambeau aerial fight in Baltimore? Because there is no longer a real “winner” of the Tour Championship. No trophy is awarded to the guy who shoots the lowest score on 72 holes. The sole purpose of the event is to shake up the distribution of the aforementioned bonus pool – just a FedEx Cup prop falsely sold to fans as a matter of prestige and relevance.

When a bunch of absurdly wealthy guys get together and just play for real money, does it really matter who comes away with the freshest loot? Are we supposed to care if Rory McIlroy gets an extra $ 950,000 (ninth place payout) or if he can reach $ 1.9 million by finishing sixth? The numbers involved are from a completely different galaxy, but in terms of pure substance, how is what’s going on in Atlanta this week different from a game of the $ 30 kitty you’re trying to win on Tuesday night or the $ 5 nassaus you fight hard then for Saturday morning?

Perhaps Xander Sc Chaudele already knew the Tour’s Championship ‘decertified’ status before finishing three strokes better than anyone on the pitch last September, and then was not credited with his fourth career PGA Tour triumph and extensive privileges that would have accompanied it. By the way, ScHotele had won the Tour Championship two years earlier. This victory counts towards his official total.

Dustin Johnson is playing the last round of the Tour Championship 2020.

The most ridiculous aspect of this clerical contradiction is that Dustin Johnson – a T-3 at East Lake in 2020, four strokes behind ScHotele – was recognized as the tournament winner because he played well enough to win the crown. overall FedEx Cup. Seriously? Did a guy get his 24th Tour victory because he ended up tied for third? Wasn’t the $ 15 million a big enough price? How does a bunch of smart men in ties sit in a boardroom all morning and come up with this stuff?

Can you imagine the volcano that would have erupted if Tiger Woods, who capped his 2018 comeback with a victory in the last Tour championship before scoring points, had been informed shortly after raising his arms triumphantly that he hadn’t won anything? What defies understanding is that the Tour essentially killed off the only event bearing its own name – immediately after Woods put on the most memorable performance in its 32-year history.

What’s interesting about the circuit championship shrinking is that the official golf world rankings recognize ScHotele, and not Johnson, as the 2020 winner. He was awarded first place points, an unprecedented act of reasonable challenge if it ever existed, and while no one really knows (or cares) how the OWGR works, there is also no sports organization on earth that should consider itself authorized to modify the rules. principles of competitive equilibrium simply in the interest of commercial gain.

Or whatever the PGA Tour is looking for. What made Cantlay-DeChambeau so great was not just how good the golf was or how long it was, but the overwhelming reaction of the crowd to everything they did, especially with sudden death. The contrasting styles and pronounced impulses of the moose. One guy only survived thanks to his putter, the other hit him 50 yards in front of his opponent and didn’t shoot anything. Just a raw and very brave battle between two of the best golfers in the game. Two young men who weren’t playing for more FedEx Cup points or a better position before Atlanta, or even the biggest paycheck, for that matter.

Cantlay and DeChambeau were playing to win. This is what professional golfers do. When a few of the richest try so hard for this simple reason, the game radiates a wave of drama that no meeting room full of ties will ever quite understand. All the money in the Camp Ponte Vedra safe is not worth half the trophies they hand out on Sunday night.

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