Players sound off on ideas for FedEx Cup changes
Updated: October 29, 2007, 6:02 PM ETBy Bob Harig | Special to ESPN.com
The PGA Tour's season of major change comes to an end this week with the final event of the year, the Children's Miracle Network Classic at Walt Disney World.You won't see Tiger Woods, who has won the event twice, even though he lives just a few miles from the course. You won't see workhorse Vijay Singh, who has not played a single Fall Series event. You won't see Phil Mickelson, who made a cameo appearance two weeks ago in Scottsdale, Ariz., but missed the cut. These final seven events came on the heels of the most radical overhaul in PGA Tour history, which saw a new format called the FedEx Cup unveiled with a "season-ending" four-tournament playoff series. Of course, the season didn't really end; these seven fall events count on the money list -- but do not offer any FedEx Cup points. Got that? With one season about to go in the books, more alterations are inevitable. There is talk about giving players a week off during the playoffs, reducing the number of players in the fields. And there are those who wonder if something cannot be done to bolster the Fall Series events. The PGA Tour Policy Board is scheduled to meet on Nov. 12, and an announcement on the 2008 schedule and any tweaks could be made at that time. Until then, there have been no shortage of opinions on the subject. Here's what some top players had to say when asked what they would like to see changed for the 2008 FedEx Cup season: Phil Mickelson: "Next year I'm even more concerned because the Ryder Cup is [scheduled] the week following the Tour Championship, so now you're talking about [playing] seven of eight. And something has to give." Jim Furyk: "In football there's 32 teams in the NFL and 12 teams to go to the playoffs. This year 125 guys keep their Tour card and 144 people are going to the playoffs. So that's roughly 110 percent of the league. So I think [playoffs] is a loosely-used term. In baseball, what do we have, eight teams that go to the playoffs. And everybody complains in hockey and basketball that half the league gets in. ... That' s why I think it's a little loose." Rich Beem: "I honestly think I would make the point value bigger during the regular season. ... We have 25,000 points per event and the winner gets 4,500 points. It seems that the winner should get like 10,000 points or a 100,000 points. I think fans would like bigger numbers. They say it doesn't really matter, but I think it does." Rory Sabbatini: "The thing that I find a little strange and confusing in a sense is you have the season-ending event now in Atlanta and the conclusion of the playoffs, and then you still have another [seven] events afterwards. It's like, OK the points end, but then the money list doesn't end until after those events. ... So there's a lot of confusion going on." Trevor Immelman: "As a whole, I think it's brought more excitement to the end of the season. I think there's been a great atmosphere at the [playoff] tournaments. Whether you like it or not, players, caddies, you guys in the media have been talking about it. If everybody is talking about it, that's exactly what everybody would have wanted." Ernie Els: "Let's look at stuff that's happened this year and see if we can have a bit of a different way forward. You're putting the world golf players really under a strain. Guys like myself guys like Tiger, guys like Phil, guys that play on the world stage because you really want to be up for the majors. And then after the majors you've got to be up for the FedEx. It's tough physically, mentally, on your family, business, everything, to keep yourself away from so-called real life for nine weeks almost. It's difficult." Mark Calcavecchia: "There's going to need to be some adjusting, some tweaking. I think you needs to keep the points a little tighter. I mean, only three guys [had a chance] to win the thing [at the Tour Championship]. There are too many points to make up and too big of a gap can be created. I'd like to see more guys have a chance in the last tournament. ... But I think it was a success. Like every first-time venture, nobody ever gets it dead-on right the first time." Stewart Cink: "There are a lot of changes that are coming down the line. I don't know what they're going to be. A lot of things that players have come up with, such as let's go back to three tournaments [for the playoffs] ... we're blocked by contractual obligations. We've got contracts that are big deals to both the PGA Tour and our television partners and the title sponsors themselves. ... We have a lot of possibilities of changing things in the points distribution. ... We have all kinds of leeway to change that." Duffy Waldorf: "I think they have a lot to discuss. The obvious thing is to reduce it to three weeks. That's obvious, but you can't do it. They've locked themselves in. But it would be better to have only three instead of four. The other thing I'd do is I'd have a couple of events each year get more points, maybe double points. Not the big events. Let's say the bottom 10 events in field [strength], you put them in a lottery and pick two and those events get double points. Those two events get double and now all of a sudden these become bigger because of they have extra points. It gives them a way to be a bigger part of it." Lucas Glover: "You gotta give guys room to take time off, especially with the Ryder Cup next year. There's a lot going on. Maybe give them a week off after the third one for everybody. Not just the Fed Ex Cup players. Not have any event. A week off for the tour. Other than that, I think they know what they're doing." Steve Flesch: "The Tour Championship needs to be the final event of the year. Anything after that is anticlimactic. I understand what they're trying to do. ... But in every other sport, I don't care what you have a season-finale. Our season finale has seven more weeks behind it." Tiger Woods: "I think it would be nice to see more volatility with the points structure, to have more guys have a chance. I think it would be more fun for us as players. It would be more fun for spectators as well." Bob Harig is a frequent contributor to ESPN.com. He can be reached at BobHarig@gmail.com.
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