FedExCup Faulty

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This is Diana Nyad for KCRW, and this is The Score.

Since the Yankees aren't playing post-season this year, I'm not avidly rooting for any one team but I must say that it would be sweet indeed to see Joe Torre go all the way with his Dodgers, especially after he was not even a mention in the Yankees' own goodbyes to their stadium. That Torre and Don Mattingly were treated with such disregard was shameful and it would be justice indeed if Torre reminded the Yankees what a superior manager he is, heading down that old familiar home stretch, this time out wearing Dodger Blue.

As for golf, there was a concept cooked up in some swank clubhouse that went terribly wrong out on the actual fairways last weekend. A couple of years ago, the brass of men's professional golf decided the Masters at Augusta and the other Majors just didn't make for an exciting enough season. So they concocted a fall series of four tournaments, called the FedExCup. It would put you to sleep to go through the intricate equation of a points system that constitute the Cup rules and you might be driving so I'll spare you that. Let's start with the fact that this post-season series accepts 144 players to start the first week. The each week, the field whittle down until only 30 play in the finale, what they call the Tour Championship.

First off, let's consider that 125 players are members of the regular-season Professional Golf Association tour. What sport, I ask you, sets up a post-season with more players than actually play in the regular season? The entire raison d'etre of a post-season is exclusivity.

In addition to the oddity of the all-inclusive, non-specialness of the Cup, there's a highly illogical points system entailed in qualifying for for this post-season mess. This year's egregious case in point was Padraig Harrington. Over the last 50 years, only two men have won both the PGA Championship and the British Open in one calendar year. One of those was the mighty Tiger. The other was Harrington and he accomplished that unlikely feat this year. But he didn't have enough points at regular season's end to make the Cup field? One hundred forty-four players made it in but Padraig Harrington wasn't good enough? What the heck is this?

It gets worse. Last year, the inaugural Cup year, Tiger had so many points by the end of the regular season that he didn't need to play all four of the FedExCup events--and he didn't. That went over huge with fans, sponsors, and television execs. Then he had so many points going into the final event, called the Tour Championship, that he could have shot 120. Any score at all, as long as he wasn't disqualified and could somehow walk the course and get the ball in the hole for four rounds won him the whole shebang. And by the way, the prize money for the FedExCup champion? $10 million!!! Ten million smackers and you don't have to rise to a level of superb golf for the final event?

This year a similar scenario unfolded. Tiger was out because of knee reconstruction so that left the rest of the field to duke it out for the big money. It turned out that V.J. Singh found the beautiful rhythm that has made him one of the greats of our time and easily won the first two of the four events. His point standing was such that, like Tiger last year, all he needed to do was walk the course from tees to greens those last two events. His score was a moot point. He tied for 44th at the third stop, the BMW Championship, but that didn't matter. The fourth event, the final Tour Championship in Atlanta happened to be an exciting day as far as golf competition goes. The charismatic young Columbian Camilo Villegas charged with five gutsy birdies in six holes to overtake Spain's Sergio Garcia, new Ryder Cup star Anthony Kim, and veteran Phil Michelson. But the drama was empty, sort of golf for the purist, because V.J Singh, despite finishing in a tie for 22nd out of 30 players, won the Championship and the $10 million.

Now I ask you. Does this make one iota of sense?

This is Diana Nyad for KCRW, and that's The Score.

Banner image: (L-R) Camilo Villegas of Colombia holds the Tour Championship trophy while Vijay Singh of Fiji smiles with the FedExCup trophy at East Lake Golf Club on September 28, 2008 in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images



Diana Nyad