The 2013 FedEx Cup is coming to my house this Thursday, and I don’t even have to sign for delivery! All I have to do is turn on the TV or computer to experience the 7th annual version of the PGA Tour’s playoff season that consists of four events that culminates with what I like to call the Super Bowl of Golf at the Tour Championship in Georgia.
I may be one of the few golfers that truly look forward to the FedEx Cup events. My sport, for years, was the only major sport not to have a true season ending championship that recognized the value and great play of golfers throughout the season. We did of course have the Tour Championship as the last event, but there was not much drama leading up to the Finals, as there are in most other major sports that feature a playoff format. The last event was just a reward to the 30 best players in the world to compete for a bunch of money.
As we are all aware, other sports entities utilize a playoff system to end seasons, and while recognizing season long records to advance, they all have a “win or leave” playoff format that makes the end of the season much more exciting. Win your first playoff game or series and move on; lose it and the season is over. I love the finality, closure, pressure, and most of all the excitement. Golf waited a long time to get into the game.
In 2007, Tim Finchem, the commissioner of the PGA Tour, and FedEx came up with the FedEx Cup playoff series. This was truly professional golf’s attempt to move golf into the same league as the other major sports, and while the first couple of years seemed a bit anti-climatic (the FedEx Cup winner simply had to finish the four rounds during the Tour Championship), some tweaks and adjustments have made it a more legitimate final event.
How the FedEx Cup Works
While it’s still a little confusing, here is a basic FedEx Cup 101 course. FedEx Cup points are awarded to the players beginning at the first event of the year. Winners and high place finishers receive FedEx points throughout the year based upon their finishes. Major events award a larger point total as a premium, as do other high quality field events. The winner of the Masters receives more FedEx points than the winner of the Shell Houston Open. At the conclusion of the structured 33 week season (which ended this past week at the Wyndham Championship), the top 125 point winners advance to the first round of the playoffs. This will take place at Liberty National Golf Club in NY at the Barclays Championship.
From the Barclays, the top 100 players in point total (still cumulative) advance to the Deutsche Bank Championship at the TPC Boston. The same format over four rounds of play will reduce the field for the third leg to 70 players. Third round action is the BMW Championship at Conway Farms in Chicago, IL.
Upon conclusion of the BMW, only the top 30 players will move on to East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, GA for the Tour Championship (also known as the Coca Cola Championship). The points for the 30 players are “reset” at this time in a manner that mathematically allows for any of the 30 players to actually become the 2013 FedEx Cup champion, although in reality, there will be a mere handful with a true opportunity.
The stakes are high at this point! The four event playoff series that make up the 2013 FedEx Cup feature not only $32,000,000 in prize money, but a BONUS POOL of $35,000,000 to pass out. The winner of the 2013 FedEx Cup will once again take home a BONUS of $10,000,000! Compare that to a player’s share of winning the 2012 Super Bowl receiving $172,000 and champions at the 2012 World Series taking in $377,000. Not a bad day of golf!
Tiger Woods won the first FedEx Cup in 2007 and again in 2009. Vijay Singh won the 2008 event, and was followed by Jim Furyk in 2010. Bill Haas won in 2011 (who can forget the shot from the edge of the water in the playoff), and last year’s winner was Brandt Snedeker with the “I’m from Mayberry, Opie smile.” With the exception of Vijay, all previous winners are scheduled to play starting on Thursday.
With that many former champions in the field, it’s hard to predict a winner, and based on my picks for the PGA Championship I am reluctant to do so again… but hey, it’s fun, so here they are.
Got to go with Tiger (yes, I am back on the Tiger Train), Matt Kuchar, Henrik Stenson, and Hunter Mahan. My dark horse pick is Jordan Speith, who until his victory just three weeks ago was not even eligible for the event. What a story that would be for a 19 year old fellow Texan to hoist some FedEx crystal!
Have some ideas for changes and improvements for future FedEx Cup finals, but for now will just be happy to tune it in on Thursday… and I don’t even have to sign a receipt.
Hit ‘em Straight,