Keeping Up With The FedEx Play-Offs

The PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup play-offs are upon us and many are wondering how significant that is. Indeed, many question whether it has meaningful attraction for golf fans or if it is one big yawn.

World number one Tiger Woods was not involved in the first tournament, citing exhaustion. That, in itself, is a major minus for the concept, which has a fairly simple format that, for some reason, takes time to digest.

The top 144 players qualify for the play-offs by earning points from the Mercedes-Benz Championship in the first week of 2007 to the previous week’s Wyndham Championship, after which points are recalibrated.

This means the leading points scorer after regular-season events receives 100,000 points, second place gets 99,000 points and descending until 144th place, who has 84,700 points.

The golfer who has the most points after the Tour Championship will win the FedEx Cup and earn $10 million. That, presumably, is the incentive for the golfers, although many critics of the concept are wondering how fans are to benefit.

There are four tournaments involved in the play-offs – The Barclays, which ended at the weekend at the Westchester Country Club in New York, this week’s Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston, the BMW Championship in Lemont, Illinois from September 6-89 and, finally, the Tour Champinoship at the East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia from September 13-16.

Steve Stricker won The Barclays by two strokes over KJ Choi to take the lead in the play-offs with 104,950 points. Choi is on 102,900 points ahead of Rory Sabbatini, also third in New York, on 100,650 points. Woods is fourth with the 100,000 points he gained for finishing first after the regular season.

Meanwhile, there was drama last week at the KLM Open in the Netherlands as England’s Ross Fisher emerged victorious with his first European Tour title.

Fisher completed his final round with three-under 67 for a four-round total of 12-under 268 and an apparent one-stroke victory over Dutchman Joost Luiten.

However, Fisher had to prove that his victory was legitimate. After the round had finished, officials escorted him to the 12th hole in order for him to convince them that he had not illegally lifted a bramble runner. After watching video evidence, Fisher was officially declared the winner and collected the trophy and a cheque for 266,666 euro.

Readers of contributions to this blog have commented on the number of first-time winners on the PGA Tour. Well, Fisher became the 16th first-time winner this season on the European Tour.

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