Bernhard Langer had the best season this year on the PGA Tour Champions; Kevin Sutherland would like everyone know that.
But as for the Schwab Cup Playoffs, the three-event conclusion to the PGA Tour Champions season? Sutherland doesn’t believe there’s much wrong with it despite heavy criticism from those who say it’s unfair for Sutherland to have won the Schwab Cup – and its the $1 million bonus – when Langer won seven times this season.
“I’ve heard a lot of (the criticism) and I guess my feeling about it is I don’t think the Schwab Cup is designed to crown who had the best season,” Sutherland said Tuesday on Morning Drive. “Obviously, Bernhard Langer did; he had an amazing year and I don’t think anybody would say because I won the Schwab Cup that that takes away from the fact that he has the best year and he’s definitely going to be Player of the Year.
“I think the playoffs and the Schwab Cup is designed more to create a little bit of excitement at the end of the year to see who can bring home the Scwhab Cup and make it a little bit more of an exciting kind of finish.”
Certainly Sutherland has a point. The Schwab Cup Playoffs are designed much like the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup Playoffs. Season-long performance is factored in, but points are ultimately reset prior to the playoff finale to keep things interesting and prevent players from locking up the playoff bonus before the final event.
Sutherland entered the Charles Schwab Cup Championship fifth in points, but his victory was enough to move him past Langer, who tied for 12th to drop to second in the final standings.
In 11 years of the FedEx Cup Playoffs, only five times has the PGA Tour Player of the Year also been the FedEx Cup champion.
When asked if he would change anything about the Schwab Cup Playoffs, Sutherland seemed content.
“I’d keep it similar,” Sutherland said. “You might want to tweak a few things, I guess. I wouldn’t be against that. … The key is you want to kind of give the guys who played well all year an advantage, but you also want to make it so it’s not such a big advantage that it’s a forgone conclusion who’s going to win.
“You’ve got to find this middle ground.”