Steve Elling says that Tim Finchem is going before the PAC board in Vegas to lay out FedEx Cup possibilities. SInce he's gotten it wrong so far, why not let him fix this problem.
Even by Vegas standards, where chaos is a nightly and desired occurrence, that sounds like a potentially frenetic panel discussion, eh? Let's see, that's 20 golfers arguing over a half-dozen completely different points plans, which sounds like an exchange of flying elbows and opinions not seen since the tour last served free sushi at the media buffet table.Interestingly, I was incorrect in guessing that the best case alternative was being quietly pushed by the Tour's media folks. I should not have given them so much credit for (A) a good idea, and (B) having the ability to sway writers into reporting it as a likely alternative. Elling reveals the source:
The Chamblee model: First espoused by Golf Channel analyst and former tour player Brandel Chamblee, his spin calls for the 72-hole stroke-play event to be staged to end on Saturday, with an 18-hole shootout for the $10 million held the following day featuring a handful of the top points earners. This plan ensures that the 72-hole tournament isn't diminished and creates additional drama Sunday, although if one player goes low, it risks being a runaway no matter what the tour does. Moreover, if a player finishes eighth in each of the four FedEx events and qualifies for the Sunday shootout, then fires a 65 and wins, does that player truly deserve the $10 million? If four players make the Sunday final, the difference between first and fourth could be a couple of shots -- and a difference of $8.5 million in bonus money. Is that fair? "Do we really want to go that route?" Dennis asked. "I don't know."
The Chamblee model is the Tour's best alternative at this point because it (A) guarantees a must see Sunday, which has always been a must, (B) allows them to do something different than the LPGA even though the ADT Championship model would be far more rivetting and memorable, and (C) did I mention that this allows them to do something different than what the LPGA does to end their season?
Naturally, Finchem in a room with mostly guys who are good at their job because they dont' think too much could be dangerous. Still, it'd be fun to listen in!
Maybe Chamblee read Scott Michaux's column from 2007, which suggested a similar format? Or great minds just think alike?
FLAW: CLIMACTIC DRAMA. Face it, a simple 30-man Tour Championship is dull theater no matter how you dress it up. Fans on the course will not be able to distinguish between who's winning the event and who's jockeying to win the points title.
SOLUTION: Steal a page from the LPGA's concluding ADT Championship, with a slight modification. Start on Wednesday, and play three rounds before trimming the field to 16 players (using playoffs for the final spots if necessary). Play the fourth round on Saturday and crown the tournament and season-long points winners. The eight top finishers, however, advance to Sunday, for an 18-hole, winner-take-all shootout for the FedEx Cup bonus.