The PGA Tour Policy Board is expected to give rubber-stamp approval to a points system for next year’s FedEx Cup race. The final vote – which will come at the board’s meeting next week at the Booz Allen Classic – follows months of debate that focused primarily on how many points would be awarded at each event.
Under the final formula, a run-of-the-mill Tour event would be allotted 25,000 points with a percentage awarded players based on their finish. The amount of points awarded likely will be the same as the current prize money structure – with 18 percent going to the winner followed by about 10 percent for second place – and all players making the cut will earn points.
“We have been showing this to the (Players Advisory Council) for a year and a half, so there’s 25 guys that have been looking at it, outside of the board members, pretty hard,” said Davis Love III, one of four player directors on the Policy Board.
“So I think we have gone pretty much as far as we can go with it.”
The most curious element of the points breakdown is the slight difference between the amount of points awarded for PGA Tour events compared with the points given to major championships. Winning the U.S. Open, for example, would be worth 4,950 points, compared with 4,500 points for a victory at the John Deere Classic.
“You don’t want anybody to get too far ahead,” Love said.
In an attempt to create as much parity and fan interest as possible, each player’s points will be adjusted after the Carolina Classic at Greensboro, the final regular-season tournament before the four-event Championship Series. The top points earner will start at 100,000, while No. 144, which is likely to be the final qualifier for the Championship Series, will start at 84,000. Each of the Championship Series events – Barclays Classic, Deutsche Bank Championship, Western Open and the Tour Championship – will be worth 50,000, which means the 144th player theoretically could take over the top spot in the points race with two late-season victories.
Although the points structure has undergone numerous revisions, Love points out the system will remain a work in progress.
“It’s just a bonus pool. It’s a thing to keep you interested all year. So eventually they may tweak it a little bit,” Love said. “That’s what I keep trying to tell the players. Because of the FedEx Cup, the TV contract is better, all the tournaments are better. If it doesn’t work perfectly, we can always change it the next year and the next year.”
One issue still to be worked out is the field size for the Tour Championship. There had been a proposal to adjust how many players get into the Championship Series finale, but Love said that number probably will remain at 30 for now.
Officials also have not determined how to allocate all of the FedEx Cup money. The FedEx pot reportedly is $40 million, with $10 million going to the points winner. Because the funds for that pool are coming from a variety of sources – including parts of the Tour’s pension plan, FedEx and the TV contract – it remains unclear whether payments will be made in lump sums or in tax-deferred installments.
“It’s our responsibility to the five or six guys who really want the money (in lump sums) to say, ‘No, you’re better off taking it tax deferred,’ ” Love said. “Even if they don’t think they are, they are.”