OK, so the brainstorm didn’t come from the PGA Tour offices, but reader’s call for a match-play Tour Championship has some merit
Obviously, there is no perfect way to conclude the FedEx Cup playoffs, but I think we can agree that a very large number of fans, including many of the actual participants, aren’t very satisfied with the current format (“Dustin Johnson ends Tour Championship where he started,” Sept. 8; “From the Morning Read inbox,” Sept. 9, Sept. 10, Sept. 11).
It does somewhat controversially reward the participants according to their positioning leading up to the final, and it does simplify updating the standings. However, it fails to identify the best player with the actual lowest score in the final tournament. This is a big problem (“PGA Tour’s season-ending gimmick goes gonzo,” Sept. 1).
Many years ago, match play was a more common tool for determining major champions, and I think it has merit for the Tour Championship.
Here is my suggested match-play format that checks all three of these boxes for the final 30 players:
Round 1: Nos. 1 and 2 seeds get byes, with 14 match-play pairings of No. 3 vs. No. 30, No. 4 vs. No. 29, etc., in 18-hole matches.
Round 2: Eight pairings, with No. 1 vs. the lowest-remaining seed, etc.
Round 3: Four pairings, set up in a similar manner as in the previous round.
Rounds 4 and 5: Semifinals and final on the same day, with a consolation match for the semifinal losers.
All losers from rounds 1, 2 and 3 would be paid equally.
As an alternative, Round 1 could be medal play, with the top two seeds automatically advancing and Nos. 3-30 qualifying for match play. The losers in Round 1 could receive graduated prize money.
The final four players would get paid the bulk of the prize money, with the champion winning the $15 million top bonus.
It might not be perfect for the preliminary losers’ money distribution, but overall it’s better than what we have now.
Rick W. Pepis
Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
PGA Tour should award 2 trophies at season finale
I know who it was! I know who it was! It was Xander Schauffele who won the Tour Championship – again – at 15 under par this time, four strokes better than Dustin Johnson (“Dustin Johnson ends Tour Championship where he started,” Sept. 8; “From the Morning Read inbox,” Sept. 9, Sept. 10, Sept. 11).
And Scotty Scheffler finished second at 12 under.
Johnson also was tied by Justin Thomas for third place.
I have no problem with two winners – Tour Championship and FedEx Cup – and two trophies. And I didn't mind when Vijay Singh only had to stay alive for four days to win his FedEx Cup, in 2008.
And I don't mind “handicapping” the Tour Championship, but who in his right mind would give Johnson, the No. 1-ranked player in the world at the time, a 2-10-stroke lead and expect to win? Especially because most of the handicap came from his work solely in August, not the entire season, as is the billing for all of the wraparound season.
I think the handicap system still needs some work, based on the season-long body of work.
Maybe rank the two playoff weeks preceding the Tour Championship as no more important than a major championship or possibly a WGC.
Jim “Skippy” Smith
Fleming Island, Fla.
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