Golf’s Version of the Playoffs Set to Start

Tour Championship, Fed Ex Cup trophy By: Kayla Mortellaro

The fall months are soon approaching and the PGA Tour needed to do something to try and make golf relevant with the ramped up football coverage and all-day Sunday NFL games. The tour’s answer; the Fed Ex Cup.

The Fed Ex Cup is a season-long point’s race that concluded last week at the Wyndham Championship with the top 125 players on the list advancing to the ‘playoffs’. The ‘playoff’ events kick off this week, August 21- August 24, 2014, at The Barclays.

After conclusion of play on Sunday, the points will be totaled and the top 100 players will advance to the following week at the Deutsche Bank Championship. The same point totaling process will take place and the field size will be reduced to the top 70 players at the BMW Championship.

The final ‘playoff’ event will be trimmed down to 30 players. This year’s Tour Championship will take place September 11- 14 at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia. The point system “re-sets” offering a chance for players to catch the leader even if he has built a big lead throughout the season and playoff events.

For example, the leader of the Fed Ex Cup will be reset to 2,500 points, second place is reset to 2,250 points, third place is reset to 2,000 points and so forth. This restructure of points means a golfer who has lead the entire season might not win the Fed Ex Cup and the $10 million prize.

The PGA Tour wanted to add excitement to the end of the year golf season and provide a reason to watch golf when the NFL sweeps the nation’s television sets. But does this system really provide excitement and draw the casual fan’s attention to golf? Based on the NBC broadcasted 2013 Tour Championship television ratings; the answer is no. According to Sports Media Watch, NBC earned a 1.6 overnight rating for Sunday afternoon’s coverage.

This year could be different with the recent stellar play by Rory McIlroy. If he is in contention throughout the playoffs with other big names like Rickie Fowler, Adam Scott and Phil Mickelson, golf just might be able to have a successful ‘playoff’ push and steal some ratings from the NFL.

But the PGA Tour needs its stars to shine for these four weeks or else it will be another disappointing end to the Fed Ex Cup and to what has been a phenomenal late summer stretch of golf.