Further Review

Steve Hummer's Further Review blog offers comments, asides and quick hits on the state of sports

FedEx Cup system somehow works

The FedEx Cup playoff system is a contrivance, basically an ever-evolving  gimmick to lend golf a finishing kick against the steamroller that is football.

Once you realize this, it makes life much easier.

You don’t get really worked up about the inequities of the points system, like some in the serious golf community do. Those issues bobbed around once more when Henrik Stenson shot to the top of the Tour Championship leaderboard and Jason Day sank. It raised the nuclear scenario of Stenson perhaps finishing second in this tournament (his standing after the third round) and still winning the $10 million FedEx Cup despite not winning a single tournament this year.

It’s complicated. And it seems weird that your champion could get there by some quirky marriage of consistency and math rather than by, you know, winning something. Resetting the points for this final event, placing so much weight upon it at the expense of the tournaments before it, does make such a thing possible.

Personally and selfishly, I’ll take the Tour Championship reset and the greater number of players it brings into the mix every time. The other possible scenario – someone coming to East Lake with the title all but locked up – is just too horrifying to contemplate. I want third-round leader Jordan Spieth to have to finish out strong in the final round if he is to earn the huge bonus.

And you know what? It just usually works out. All hypotheticals aside, the winner at the end of this thing most often has some kind of legitimate claim to the waterfall of money. I don’t remember this being a raging issue in the past. There’s some kind of explanation at the end that suits the public.

Shouldn’t the system prove itself broken before it goes in for any more repairs? I’d say it’s performing exactly as designed – to make this last week in Atlanta a tick more interesting.

So, say Stenson wins the tournament Sunday and picks up a little extra jack after his first victory. Or Spieth wins his fifth event of the year and all is right and just with the FedEx winner. OK either way.

And if something does go weird at the end, it’s just one of the quirks of an admittedly quirky playoff. And who on the field of play is in position to complain, because for every last lucky soul in this tournament, it’s all found money.

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About the Author

Steve Hummer writes sports features for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He covers a wide range of sports and topics.