Elling On Points Race Idea

PGA Tour logo.jpgSteve Elling writes what figures to be a recurring theme: this PGA Tour NASCAR points idea stinks:

Rather than maintain the status quo, a formula that has worked in tour circles for, oh, about eight decades, Finchem is photocopying NASCAR, which unveiled its critically mixed and unproven points chase all of two years ago.

Mind you, this year, mega-stars Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon didn't qualify for the 10-event points playoff race, which is like Woods and Vijay Singh missing the cut last week at Disney, times 10. What if they held a points race and nobody cared?

The tour points chase is expected to look something like this: After the season's final major, the PGA Championship, a series of three events will award points to players based on their finish or other performance-based criteria. The three events are believed to be the Barclays Classic, Deutsche Bank Championship and Western Open. Not coincidentally, those events are located in New York, Boston and Chicago, where the marketing impact is hoped to be as big as the number being floated as the points-race bonus -- a cool $10 million to the winner.

The Deutsche Bank event is a whopping 3 years old and contested on a course that frequently has been criticized by players, so its inclusion is mostly attributable to one thing -- the proceeds from the tournament benefit Woods' charitable foundation. It's no surprise that Woods, who has had several private conversations with Finchem on the forthcoming changes, is on board with the points format and says he definitely would play five times in a six-week span, or whatever is required, to lend credibility to the plan.

"We kind of have to," Woods said, "if you want to have a chance in the playoff system, especially at the end of the year with the playoff system being four in a row like that."

But it's not the end of the year, really. And fans thought a viable points system already was in place: It's called the money list, right?

"They are trying to have the perception not be about money," Woods said. "You don't have any idea how much money the guys in NASCAR or Formula 1 are making."

Uh...it's not about the money, but it really is all about money. And it Tiger or Vijay or Phil cashes a $10 million bonus at the end of the  year, who will care about the rich getting just a little bit richer?