PGA Tour could learn from Euro finale

Graeme McDowell and Martin Kaymer shake hands during the Volvo Masters.

Graeme McDowell and Martin Kaymer shake hands during the Volvo Masters.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – You couldn’t ask for an easier proposition than this week’s $7.5 million Dubai World Championship, the final event of the European Tour season.

Two guys go head to head to become European No. 1. Martin Kaymer versus Graeme McDowell.

What could be simpler?

You don’t need spread sheets or a slide rule – for those of you old enough to remember those. You don’t need some boffin to come on air and explain some convoluted points system that only those with a degree in pure mathematics could understand, the boffin all the while plugging one of America’s shipping companies.

You can do this math on the back of your hand and still get the gist of what’s going on. All you need to be able to do is add and subtract, and any Tom, Dick or Tim Finchem can do that. Right?

Let me state the simplicity of the final event of the European Order of Merit, or what the European Tour would like us to call the Race to Dubai. Kaymer is €290,910 ahead of McDowell in the race to be No. 1 and only needs to finish ahead of the Northern Irishman this week to finish European No. 1.

McDowell has to finish at least third, since third place carries a prize fund of €355,036. Second is worth €606,896. First place would be more preferable since it’s worth €910,348.

Simple, huh? And I didn’t have to mention a freight company once.

Okay, so I’m being a bit flippant. If McDowell doesn’t win, then there are a few scenarios this week that need to play out in order for McDowell to overtake Kaymer.

Here they are:

  • 1. If McDowell finishes second on his own, Kaymer has to finish in a tie for third with one other player or worse.
  • 2. If McDowell ties second with one other player, Kaymer has to finish sixth or worse.
  • 3. If McDowell ties second with two others, Kaymer has to finish 11th or worse.
  • 4. If McDowell ties second with three others, Kaymer has to be 19th or worse.
  • 5. If McDowell ties second with four others, Kaymer has to be 41st or worse.
  • 6. If McDowell finishes in third place alone, Kaymer has to be 21st or worse.
  • 7. If McDowell finishes tied third with one other player, Kaymer has to finish 52nd or worse.

Okay, so not as cut and dried as I first made out but certainly not as convoluted as the playoff system that exists across the pond.

This week’s Euro season showcase comes down to a simple case of money, not points. More importantly, the season culminates here, as it should be.

Who knew Matt Kuchar won this year’s PGA Tour money list? Hardly anyone since the PGA Tour stole his thunder by staging its complex playoff system in the middle of the season. Aren’t playoffs supposed to come at the end of the season?

So Jim Furyk gets all the plaudits for winning the playoffs even though Kuchar finished as the PGA Tour’s No. 1 guy, over $100,00 ahead of Furyk on the money list.

How does that work?

Answer: It doesn’t!

The PGA Tour might be a better tour than its European counterpart, but it could learn a thing or three about how to close out a season with excitement and drama – and a modicum of simplicity.

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