Tuesday, 19 August 2008

The Fedex Cup - A pension plan for those who need it most....

£393 million in the bank, yet he still shaves his face himself. A man comes in weekends to trim his nipple hair mind..

The Fedex Cup Play-offs begin this week, marking the point where the regular PGA Tour season ends in America and the focus becomes even more about money that it usually is. The regular season ends and we enter a four tournament series of play-offs, remedying the crucial problem Golf had of being the only sport in America not to have a play-off season. A full explanation what exactly this is all about and how it works, might I direct you to here; for those of you who can't be bothered reading all that guff, or did and couldn't comprehend, I'll have a bash at summarising it.

The first 33 weeks of the season have been spent accumulating Fedex Cup points, 4500 awarded for a win, 2700 for a second placing, down a sliding scale to 50 points for 70th. Tiger, having played only little over a quarter or so of the events, still leads this table. Kenny Perry after his mid-season streak of crazy good golf is in second, followed by Big Phil and a tight bunch of Harrington, Kim, Cink and Singh. For those interested the table of actual points earned is here. However rewarding play throughout the year would be a stupid thing to do right? So, making the hard efforts of Perry virtually void, the points are arbitrarily reset for the upcoming play-offs. The table now looks like this. So having held a 10,012 point lead over 10th place Geoff Ogilvy, i.e. earning nearly twice as many points throughout the season, Kenny Perry is now on 99,500 points and Ogilvy on 98,125. This is an advantage of 1375 points. To analyse it mathematically, it's gone from a lead of 47% overnight to a lead of 1.38% in the play-offs. Bet Kenny's glad he put in all that effort now!

I understand the theory behind this, it's to place greater emphasis on good play in the play-offs now but come on, shouldn't the guys who did well all season have a bit more of a head start. Especially when it will be so easy for guys right at the bottom of the rankings to catch up. In it's defense the field is cut progressively through the four tournaments, only 30 will still be competing come the Tour Championship final, but a few good results will rocket those at the bottom now right into the Top 30. Here's how the points will be divvied out.

Playoff Points
Position Barclays, Deutsche Bank, BMW THE TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP
1. 11,000 12,500
2. 7,400 8,500
3. 5,400 6,000
4. 4,400 5,000
5. 4,000 4,500
10. 3,350 3,700
30. 2,340 2,000
70. 2,100 --

144th place in the standings is Lee Janzen, former US Open winner. Were he to win the Barclays this weekend, he would earn 11,000 points for it, and jump from 92,070 points to 103,070. If leader Perry finished 10th at the Barclays, he would be on 102,850 and be behind Janzen. It's a very unlikely scenario but should there be a system in place where one result can make that much difference? That's how skewed these points are. It doesn't seem particularly fair to me.

Especially when you consider what's a stake. Whoever is on top of the table come the end of the Tour championship wins the pot of $10,000,000. That is not a typing error, that is the correct number of zeroes on the end there, 10 MILLION DOLLARS. I guess it had to be that size of a prize to get anyone's attention. The rewards in golf are already so huge that a smaller figure wouldn't have seemed such a big deal. But remember the publicity when Vijay Singh became the first to win 10 million in a season. But why the hell did this have to be done anyway. It was brought in last year and guess who won it. Tiger Woods. The man has so much money already he could probably buy Tescos. It's not a cash prize but is paid out when the players have retired in stages like a pension. So that's one $10,000,000 pension Tiger has, and considering he will very likely win quite a few more of these before he's over he could have something like 100 million dollars waiting on him in retirement. He still feels the need to do those excruciating Gillette Adverts (see above)... It sort of sticks in the throat doesn't it. There was too much money in Golf as it was, now it's got silly.

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