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FedExCup Points

May. 24, 2006     By     Comments (18)

The FedEx Cup is coming next year but that doesn't mean we can't take a peek this year as to how the points system will work. There are a few things that can be tweaked, but it should be fun and interesting to watch.

The Numbers GameNext year we get to witness the "NASCAR-ization" of the PGA Tour. The guys in the big offices of the PGA headquarters wanted to make the end of the year more exciting than watching paint dry, watching people struggle to keep their PGA Tour cards, and the occasional Michelle Wie sighting.

So what we will have is a points system unveiled last year that will determine a playoff field. The points will be reset for a final points chase. Is all this good for the PGA Tour? Is there a better way? I'll talk about that and more this week in The Numbers Game.

How it All Works

John Hawkins of Golf World was was able to shed some light on just exactly how next year's FedEx Cup points system will work. If you're lazy and don't want to click the link, I'll sum it up for you.

Every PGA Tour event will have points available. These points are allotted differently for different tournaments… but the difference is not very large. Here is the breakdown:

Normal PGA Tour events            25,000

World Golf Championships          26,250

Majors & Players Championship     27,500

Clearly, the PGA Tour was trying to stress the majors (and their own tournament) and the World Golf events, but with only a 10% bump, the majors are not stressed much at all. Much of the advantage will go to players who actually qualify for WGC events and majors, many of which have smaller fields or lack 36-hole cuts like regular Tour events.

At each tournament, points are distributed the same way prize money is distributed. Using that logic, here's a list of the points given for the top 10 finishers in a normal PGA Tour event:

Place    Points

  1      4500.0

  2      2700.0

  3      1700.0

  4      1200.0

  5      1000.0

  6      900.0

  7      837.5

  8      775.0

  9      725.0

  10     675.0

Simple enough so far, right? But wait, there's more… To make the tail end of the PGA Tour season interesting, things change after the last major. After the Carolina Classic of Greensboro, the first tournament after the PGA Championship, the top 144 in these standings will enter the "Chase for the Cup." Instead of blanking everyone's point totals like NASCAR, the PGA Tour will re-allocate points from 1 to 144: player #1 will get 100,000 points, player #144 will get 84,000.

As if that wasn't enough, "Chase" tournaments also see a jump in available points: doubled to 50,000. PGA Tour officials hope that this will lead to more play by the bigger names on the PGA Tour, as they'll have to play - and play well - to maintain their slimmed-down leads. The field is then cut again for the season-ending Tour Championship. It's not yet known how many points will be available there, but it is known that the winner of the season-long championship receives $10,000,000.

Current Standings

So now that we better understand how the FedEx Cup will work, let's apply the logic above to the current year and see how the proposed points system is faring. Using the purse breakdown to extrapolate points would be easy if exactly 70 players made the cut every single week and didn't tie. The only way to get each player's percent for each week was to break it down into two tables.

First I had a base table with each tournament, it's points value and total purse. It looked something like this:

Tournament        FedEx Points        Purse

----------        ------------        -----

Mercedes Champ    25000               $5,400,000 

Sony Open         25000               $5,100,000

Etc.

The other table shows the final standing for each player in each tournament. Using these tables, I could determine the % of the purse each player won in each tournament. I then multiplied that by the total points available for that tournament… and bingo, I have total points won for each player in each tournament.

Of course this is all based on the assumptions in Mr. Hawkins' article. If these are true, then as of May 22, 2006 the FedEx Cup standings are as follows:

1               Phil Mickelson          13942.17

2               Jim Furyk               12851.66

3               Stuart Appleby          12179.75

4               Tiger Woods             11212.58

5               Chad Campbell           10932.24

6               Rory Sabbatini          10854.34

7               Geoff Ogilvy            10315.07

8               David Toms              10165.51

9               Rod Pampling            8323.35

10              Vijay Singh             8288.59

11              Arron Oberholser        8167.87

12              Stephen Ames            7949.10

13              Luke Donald             7884.34

14              Retief Goosen           7453.92

15              Jose Maria Olazabal     7408.31

16              Trevor Immelman         7081.71

17              Lucas Glover            6811.56

18              Adam Scott              6721.73

19              Brett Wetterich         6649.58

20              Tim Herron              6146.58

21              Tim Clark               6104.75

22              Scott Verplank          5854.00

23              Aaron Baddeley          5636.24

24              Jerry Kelly             5628.65

25              J.B. Holmes             5619.26

26              Camilo Villegas         5487.81

27              Zach Johnson            5223.17

28              Mike Weir               5117.60

29              Billy Mayfair           5060.09

30              Kirk Triplett           4956.30

31              Vaughn Taylor           4938.52

32              Richard Johnson         4765.77

33              Davis Love III          4655.48

34              Chris Couch             4608.00

35              Nathan Green            4491.92

36              Bo Van Pelt             4461.51

37              Fred Funk               4126.33

38              Jesper Parnevik         4103.36

39              Carl Pettersson         4069.35

40              Greg Owen               4066.76

41              Bob Estes               4055.21

42              Tom Lehman              3952.13

43              J.J. Henry              3592.97

44              Stewart Cink            3542.81

45              Tom Pernice, Jr.        3536.09

46              Dean Wilson             3479.25

47              Ernie Els               3373.38

48              John Rollins            3236.62

49              Fred Couples            3221.05

50              Craig Barlow            3185.51

51              Brett Quigley           3182.02

52              Jonathan Byrd           3177.92

53              Charles Howell III      3114.73

54              K.J. Choi               2977.57

55              Sergio Garcia           2975.53

56              Steve Lowery            2970.50

57              Charley Hoffman         2953.24

58              Bubba Watson            2861.33

59              Ryan Palmer             2846.71

60              Ted Purdy               2841.11

61              Charles Warren          2715.82

62              Brian Gay               2710.81

63              Jason Bohn              2657.73

64              Pat Perez               2588.39

65              Nick Watney             2552.57

66              Ben Crane               2532.00

67              Shane Bertsch           2521.96

68              Fredrik Jacobso         2479.54

69              Daniel Chopra           2434.76

70              Heath Slocum            2432.57

71              Darren Clarke           2430.25

72              Steve Stricker          2402.75

73              Robert Allenby          2380.25

74              John Senden             2348.29

75              Duffy Waldorf           2345.55

76              Justin Leonard          2334.41

77              Dudley Hart             2325.66

78              Padraig Harrington      2316.19

79              Peter Lonard            2232.26

80              Jerry Smith             2174.46

81              Justin Rose             2142.27

82              Brian Davis             2128.75

83              Mathias Gronberg        2126.82

84              David Branshaw          2124.96

85              Bill Haas               2112.42

86              Rich Beem               2073.93

87              Lee Westwood            2068.75

88              Ryuji Imada             2040.14

89              David Howell            2020.25

90              J.L. Lewis              1916.64

91              Joey Sindelar           1903.63

92              Carlos Franco           1894.80

93              Doug Barron             1884.06

94              Shigeki Maruyama        1879.93

95              Joe Ogilvie             1872.97

96              Jeff Sluman             1862.62

97              Olin Browne             1858.70

98              Henrik Bjornstad        1847.64

99              Corey Pavin             1757.73

100             Shaun Micheel           1751.24

101             Arjun Atwal             1742.68

102             Bart Bryant             1726.66

103             Brandt Jobe             1703.98

104             Angel Cabrera           1687.75

105             Joe Durant              1668.56

106             Mathew Goggin           1664.85

107             Henrik Stenson          1663.50

108             Bernhard Langer         1623.05

109             Jason Gore              1615.10

110             Wes Short, Jr.          1598.74

111             Mark Wilson             1566.75

112             Briny Baird             1550.39

113             Jeff Gove               1538.00

114             Mark Calcavecchia       1536.23

115             Ian Poulter             1507.82

116             Omar Uresti             1504.75

117             Steve Flesch            1475.83

118             Chris DiMarco           1457.06

119             Michael Campbell        1453.52

120             Todd Fischer            1442.81

121             Jeff Maggert            1428.30

122             Jonathan Kaye           1400.90

123             John Huston             1369.58

124             Brad Faxon              1367.88

125             Kenny Perry             1365.96

126             Frank Lickliter II      1347.83

127             Hunter Mahan            1308.93

128             Tag Ridings             1293.55

129             Woody Austin            1286.43

130             Sean O'Hair             1194.39

131             Kevin Sutherland        1178.30

132             Stephen Leaney          1150.16

133             Nick O'Hern             1145.00

134             Paul Azinger            1122.21

135             Tim Petrovic            1085.83

136             Harrison Frazar         1051.55

137             Ben Curtis              1045.37

138             Danny Ellis             997.79

139             Tommy Armour III        984.42

140             Robert Gamez            913.93

141             Bubba Dickerson         906.24

142             D.A. Points             881.74

143             Brent Geiberger         860.06

144             John Cook               857.42

145             Troy Matteson           856.36

146             Cameron Beckman         814.25

147             Bob Tway                806.42

148             Steve Jones             787.20

149             Paul Goydos             776.45

150             Vance Veazey            770.50

151             Shingo Katayama         765.98

152             Chris Riley             761.44

153             Scott McCarron          756.54

154             Jeff Overton            753.44

155             Brian Bateman           737.18

156             Paul McGinley           731.00

157             David Duval             721.31

158             Kent Jones              712.61

159             Michael Allen           704.64

160             Robert Garrigus         701.70

That looks a lot like the money list, huh? It should, since the points are basically a reflection of the purse! The only way the two could vary is if someone does well in the "big" tournaments or vice versa. Curious, I looked at the top players to see if any had a large differential between their place on the money list and their place on the FedEx Cup points list. Here it is:

Player              FedEx    Money    Diff

------              -----    -----    ----

Phil Mickelson        1        1        0

Jim Furyk             2        2        0

Stuart Appleby        3        3        0

Tiger Woods           4        5       -1

Chad Campbell         5        6       -1

Rory Sabbatini        6        7       -1

Geoff Ogilvy          7        4       +3

David Toms            8        8        0

Rod Pampling          9        12      -3

Vijay Singh          10        11      -1

Arron Oberholser     11        13      -2

Stephen Ames         12        9       +3

Luke Donald          13        14      -1

Retief Goosen        14        10      +4

Jose Maria Olazabal  15        15       0

Trevor Immelman      16        16       0

Lucas Glover         17        19      -2

Adam Scott           18        18       0

Brett Wetterich      19        17      +2

Tim Herron           20        20       0

Tim Clark            21        21       0

Scott Verplank       22        24      -2

Aaron Baddeley       23        26      -3

Jerry Kelly          24        36      -12

J.B. Holmes          25        27      -2

Camilo Villegas      26        22      +4

Zach Johnson         27        23      +4

Mike Weir            28        28       0

Billy Mayfair        29        32      -3

Kirk Triplett        30        57      -27

Vaughn Taylor        31        29      +2

Richard Johnson      32        30      +2

You can see that Kirk Triplett has managed to slide up 27 spots in the FedEx Cup standings. How did he do this? By winning the tournament that had the smallest purse this year, the Chrysler Classic of Tuscon. Guess who finished second in the same tournament? Yup, Jerry Kelly - the other player that has a large differential. Other than that, there isn't a player in the top 30 of the 32 of the money list that moved more than four spots either way.

What I Think

There are a couple of things I think can - or should - be done to make the FedEx Cup a bit more fair and fun. First off, instead of just assigning 25,000 points to all the "normal" tournaments, why not use strength of field to determine the amount of points assigned? This would reward players who play in tournaments, such as the Wachovia Championship, that attract more dominant players. Kirk Triplett's win came in an event in which the top 64 players in the world were competing elsewhere - in that same weekend's WGC Match Play Championship. If we want the best golfers at the top of the FedEx Cup at the end, don't reward someone for beating up on lesser competition. I'm fine with using the purse allocation method to assign points, but the total points shouldn't be the same week to week.

In addition to a strength-of-field factor, I'd like to see the PGA Tour implement a cut in the "Chase" tournaments. The first week, 144 compete. The next week, perhaps only the top 110 move on, and so forth. This would build drama as the series moved on, until the Tour Championship, where I think that the field should be limited to the top 30 and anyone that, with a win, could claim the title. I doubt that the person in 31st place will be within 5000 points of the leader, but it's conceivable and similar in concept to the dual cut on the PGA Tour - the top 70 and ties get in plus anyone within 10 shots of the lead.

At this point, I like the FedEx Cup and what I think it will do for the PGA Tour. I'm a bit nervous to see if any of the big names skip out like Phil did last year, but with a shortened schedule and more incentive - OK, 10 million more incentives - I think that next year will bring some excitement to the fall months on the PGA Tour.

Discussion

  1. That was a great article Dave!

    I have been kinda lazy as far as learning the details of next year's FedEx Cup, and you did a great job of summing it up.

    I'm excited for the new format, but on the other hand, they do need to make some tweaks in order to keep it a little different than the money list.

    Good work.

  2. Kevin Klise says:

    Thanks for the clarification! No doubt the formula will be tweaked over time to refine/improve the process. One thought comes to mind: Where, if at all, should the world rankings be considered? Isn't this just another way of arriving at a similar result? Shouldn't there be just a single ranking/points system? My two cents...

  3. Mike Fleischauer says:

    I like the new FedEx Cup system that the PGA has installed for 2007 & beyond! Unfortunately, none of the articles give a complete breakdown of points assigned to each of the top 70 finishers in regular tournaments, the Majors, the final 4 "Chase" tournaments, etc. Most articles on the subject list the points for the top 10 finishers & no more than that! I want to use the new system for my multi-group Yahoo Fantasy Golf league, but I need more than the top 10 info! Can anyone e-mail me more detailed info (or a link to this info)??

  4. Big Tone says:

    same here ... I still can't work out how the money is divvied up (and the link above is no help on that score I'm afraid, or I'm too thick to understand). :-)

  5. Linda Mitchell says:

    Considering that the winner of the Fedex Cup wins $10m, he will be a slam dunk for wining the Money List. Will he also get additional points for world ranking, or just the same as always for the Tour Championship?
    I appreciate your Fedex points to Money List comparison, but I guess I don't see why they did not just use the top 144 on the Money List or top 144 in World Ranking, instead of generating yet another list of numbers to keep track of.

  6. Rick Hale says:

    I like the FedEx Cup Points system as it stands. My reasoning is exactly opposite to your well written article, Dave. Specifically, the points convert the narrow-to-broad variations between each individual's performance reflected in the FedEx Cup points standings and places the burden of competition on the shoulders of each individual competitor. In your article, Kirk Triplett and Jerry Kelly are perfect examples of competitors needing to seek upper level competition if they are to stand a true chance at winning during the FedEx playoffs.

    Way to go local boy Tadd Fujikawa! Aloha from Kailua...

  7. Brian says:

    So has someone figured this out historically? Who would have won in 2006, 2005, etc?

  8. Ben says:

    With the Fed Ex cup in place, how will the ranking system work throughout the 2007 season? Is the winner of the Fed Ex Cup going to automatically become the number one ranked player in the world? It would seem to make sense. But I am not sure if this would be a true reflection. And if so, how long will that title remain?

  9. Dave says:

    Brian -
    I haven't even tried to figure out who would have won...I'll let someone else do that.

    Ben -
    The Fed Ex Cup has nothing to do with the world golf rankings. It's just the PGA Tour's way of keeping the big names playing through October and the same amount of interest in the year-end tournaments as the early and mid-year ones...adding a bit of drama.

    Since I wrote this article, the PGA Tour decided to reset the points after the Wyndham Championship and cut the field in the successive four tournaments...

    Barclays (Top 144 in points)
    Deutsche Bank (Top 120)
    BMW Championship (Top 70)
    Tour Championship (Top 30)

    This should help, but I'm still wondering if Tiger or Phil will play...I think they'll show up for the Barclays and if they do well, skip one of the next two until the Tour Championship.

  10. Vinnie says:

    I think the Point System will build excitment throughout the year. I hated the Point system the first year with NASCAR, but after you understand it, it does get alot more interesting. You can't just "run away" with the Cup, you have to be consistant to stay in the Chase. Dude, great article!!

  11. Redhill says:

    I hate to be the dissenting vote, but I think the FedEx point system leaves me scratching my head. I have 3 points to make . . .

    1. Why in the world does the calculations have to be in the tens of thousands of points?? What's wrong with using 40 or 50 points instead of 4,500?? At a glance the calculations are almost mind boggling. "So and so is 8,432 points behind so and so." You've got to be kidding Mr. Finchem?? "This is a major turn-off in a sport where we are used to tracking scores in single digits (hole scores) and barely into the teens for cumulative scores against par in actual events.

    2. Professional golf is not and never will be a team sport. The lone exception is the bi-annual Ryder Cup. It does exceptionally well in TV ratings just the way it is. Why . . . a grand tradition and rivalry in match play with a rich history.

    3. The 4 majors will always be the centerpiece of accomplishment and interest for the grand game of golf. When it comes to tradition, golf is perhaps the greatest sport played. it will never compete with the NFL, NBA or NASCAR no matter how many thousands of points you throw at it.

    A final observation . . .
    Leave golf alone and enjoy this great treasure just the way it is. Haven't we've runied enough of this game already with the equipment and balls in play today? That should be lesson enough.

  12. Keith says:

    The only way to do points and keep things tight for all tourneys including majors (you have to qualify for a major so the extra pts are already taken care of) is to make the differences the same as the tournamment place. The right scheme for all competitions is:

    1st = 100 pts
    2nd = 90 pts
    .
    .
    10th = 10 pts

    This keeps players from laguishing on their yacht for two or three weeks after practicing for three days and playing golf for four days. Whew. That's hard work.

  13. Mike Albert says:

    Great job man, really informative.

  14. James says:

    Great Article.

    The Fed Ex cup should ONLY be the top 30 players facing off against one another in 1 final tournament.

    For example:

    #1 player gets to start Even Par
    #2 player starts +1

    and so on.

    That means a player who played well all year gets the benefit of starting the tournament in a better spot.

    Why even everthing out toward the end of the year? The reason they do it, is because they are tired of seeing Tiger Woods dominate the PGA.

    Well I say play better and stop making excuses for players who are NOT as good as Woods!

  15. J says:

    The FedEx Cup is a wonderful thing for the game of golf. I however do feel that it penalizes a golfer if he plays less amount of tournaments. I would like to see a larger amount of points given for a golfer who wins a major but everyone saw what happened in 2009; not very indicative of historical golfers?
    Well, I would like to fix the point system. What about 1000 points for each PGA win, 2000 for each major win, 5000 points for any golfer with more than 4 wins, 1000 points for the golfer with the most wins, 2500 points for the golfer with the most top 10 PGA events, and keep the Fedex Cup points as is?????
    What do you golfers think???

  16. J says:

    As far as the current article; :idea:
    It is made of a number of statistics that I feel does not really demonstrate the top current players of the game? I feel that a list that has only 10 probable hall of fame golfers in the top 40 does not constitute an accurate point system.
    If we change the point system, the cream will always rise to the top> As a matter of fact that is what most of the golfers (as advertised) have said, referring to the FedEx Cup. The winners must be top rated golfers with the best year. No disrespect to Y.E. but come on, a major yes, but to win a Fedex Cup, that should demand a SOLID SEASON

  1. [... Next year we get to witness the "NASCAR-ization" of the PGA Tour. The guys in the big offices of the PGA headquarters wanted to make the end of the year ...]

  2. [... Next year we get to witness the "NASCAR-ization" of the PGA Tour. The guys in the big offices of the PGA headquarters wanted to make the end of the year ...]

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