Players weigh in on 'weird' reported changes to FedEx Cup Playoffs

Ryan Young/PGA TOUR

Players weigh in on 'weird' reported changes to FedEx Cup Playoffs

PGA Tour

Players weigh in on 'weird' reported changes to FedEx Cup Playoffs

NORTON, Mass. – The PGA Tour will enter a losing battle for the final time this year, when the FedEx Cup Playoffs conclude at the Tour Championship in East Lake during Week 3 of the NFL season.

The revamped 2018-19 schedule will wrap up in mid-August, and that’s a move that makes a ton of sense to players at TPC Boston this week for the Dell Technologies Championship.

Kevin Chappell was one of a handful of players working away on the range in temperatures that reached 97 degrees, a record high in Boston on today’s date. Chappell is a California native and big San Francisco 49ers fan, and if he doesn’t make it to Atlanta he won’t be watching the final round of the Tour Championship.

“I’d watch the Niners,” Chappell said. “All day.”

The Tour Championship will look different next year too, with reported changes including a new scoring format that places the FedEx Cup leader at 10 under par to start the tournament, with a staggered advantage for others based on rank entering the week.

That’s an easy way to avoid all those confusing scenarios with multiple outcomes based on who wins, and it presumably will make for a more enjoyable viewing experience.

It also eliminates the possibility of a dual winner, which we saw last year with Justin Thomas winning the FedEx Cup while Xander Schauffele actually won the Tour Championship.

“In all sports you’ve got to win the final game of the year to win,” Jimmy Walker said. “If they want it to be a real playoff, you have to win the final event to win the whole thing. I guess that’s where they’re going, so I think that’s probably right where it’s supposed to be.”

That’s an unprecedented scoring change, for sure. Russell Henley, when informed of the reported changes, said it “Sounds kind of weird.” He figured it will add to the excitement in that a player has to win the tournament to win the whole thing, even if that includes a big head start.

One concern Chappell raised is that because the scenarios could get so confusing, players didn’t know what they needed to do in order to win the cup at East Lake. All they knew was they’d have a much better chance if they won the whole tournament, so that kept them motivated throughout the week.

“I think putting an emphasis on winning the FedEx Cup is great and not having a tournament within a tournament makes sense to change it up,” Chappell said. “I just would find it hard for those guys that are in 27th to 30th place to start a tournament 10 shots back and if you bogey the first two holes, how motivated are you going to be? It’s going to be pretty easy to take your golf ball and go home from that point on.”

TPC Boston will be out of the rotation next year, with the playoffs going from four events to three. The Northern Trust will now alternate between Liberty National in New Jersey and Boston, with the Tour Championship concluding on August 25.

Most players agreed the new scoring format will work, but the biggest benefactors will be those watching from home.

“They’ve got people watching it and it’s confusing because there’s two tournaments going on,” Walker said. “I think this will add some continuity to what’s going on, make it easier to comprehend. I’m sure there’s a lot of math and science behind it, and it probably works. It is what it is. We don’t really have a say.”

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