Think about it: every year the absurdity of the FedExCup has purportedly been "validated" by big name, established winners. Haas, winning his first event of the year and his third on the PGA Tour, ends the run that the Commissioner cited as evidence of the Cup's stature. And that's a good thing if you want to see the "playoffs" reach their potential as the exciting, dramatic competition it could be.
Now, television ratings were barely up this year and that will be cited against the 2011 Tour Championship and FedExCup finale. But a thrilling conclusion was delivered by having the champion of the Tour Championship capturing the Cup (for those who watched). Imagine guaranteeing that kind of finish each year but somehow whittling the field down to an elite number of players by Sunday, heaving the points out the window, and watching the players fight it out for $10 million in an easily explainable weekend of golf (lowest score wins!).
Brandel Chamblee's idea for something along those lines--essentially a variation on the LPGA's ADT Championship--is an interesting one and was put forward in a NY Times piece by Karen Crouse:
Under the current system, points are cumulative and the fields are reduced after each of the three tournaments leading to the 30-man Tour Championship. Chamblee suggested that once the four rounds of playoffs begin, each golfer starts with a blank slate every tournament.
The top 125 in the points standings would compete in the first event, with cuts in subsequent tournaments at 100, 70 and 30. The 72-hole stroke-play event would begin on Wednesday and crown a winner on Saturday. On Sunday, according to Chamblee’s proposal, the top four finishers would compete in an 18-hole playoff to determine the FedEx Cup champion. His idea has the added benefit of preventing players from taking a tournament off.
Thanks to Bill Haas, we no longer have to hear how the current gerrymandering system has rewarded the best player and steadiest of the year. And thanks to Bill Haas, perhaps a riskier, wackier and more sensational format can now be put on the table for the finale to the FedExCup.