Many, many years ago there were no such things as playoffs, and championships were decided by distinguished groups of slightly-more-than-middle-aged men. This system was so prevalent that it dominated all the popular sports like golf, NASCAR, and college football (yeah, not much of a Venn diagram overlap there). But then came the age of enlightenment and everybody fell in favor of a playoff system so they could be like those bastions of unbiased, objective and equitable sports management.... FIFA and the IOC.
So in 2007, the American golf honchos came up with a way to
get more corporate dollars and line their own pockets increase the intrigue and improve the health of the game with the FedEx Cup Playoff system. There is a season-long system awarding points to how you finish in tournaments, with major tournaments giving more points. Those who succeed with higher finishes, and especially in majors, will be richer than they already were. Those who finish the season-long race in the top 125 spots earn entry into the 4 playoff events, each with a purse of $8 million.
The top 125 players earn entry to The Barclays, and the points are quadrupled during the playoff run. Based on finishes with The Barlcays, only the top 100 earn entry to The Deutsche Bank. After that, only the top 70 earn entry to The BMW Championship (and no cut). Then the top 30 will play in the finale, a limited field event held at East Lake in Atlanta and called The Tour Championship presented by Coca-Cola. The player who is at the top of the list after all four events is awarded a $10 million bonus ($3M for 2nd, $2M for 3rd, $1.5M for 4th, $1M for 5th). So that means that each tourney is $8 million, plus bonus money at the end, and it's $67 million over the course of 4 tournaments. You can see how the players really hemmed and hawed over this decision to sanction it, but in the end it was the spirit of competition, fair play, and growing the game that swayed them to approve.
So that's your primer. Now let's get to the Red & Black portion of our programming. The cutoff was this past week where we had some 'Dawgs trying to improve their position. The 125 golfers qualified for The Barclays are now final, and ready to tee it up in the first playoff event. And making this distinguished field are no fewer than 8 former Bulldogs.
Bubba Watson leads the way in 3rd place. Almost assured of being qualified for all four playoff events, but making a cut or two would be nice. If you're in the top 5 for the finale, and win the finale, you automatically get the $10M bonus. Nice.
Kevin Kisner is in 17th place. See Bubba above. He can get booted out of the top 30 because of the accelerated point system, but he's definitely safe for weeks 1 and 2, and likely 3. A top 10 finish in any of those and maybe just a top 20 books his ticket to ATL.
Chris Kirk is in 29th place, but hasn't played since before the Open Championship in early July. Thanks to a broken hand, and inability to compete, he has fallen about 7 spots but is still in great shape to make the first few rounds. This will be his first competitive round in about 7 weeks.
Russell Henley is in 38th place. Shouldn't be a problem to make week 2. Make 1 cut and he likely advances to week 3. Make a top 10 and he might move into the finale week 4.
Harris English is in 42nd place. See Henley above. He actually improved 4 spots this past weekend, and every spot counts.
Brendon Todd is in 53rd place. See Henley above. Might need two top 30's to advance to the finale.
Hudson Swafford is in 100th place. As of now, he's qualified for the 2nd event too (top 100), but that means he needs to make the cut this week to be safe for Deutsche Bank. And he'd have to do something special to get to week 3.
Erik Compton is in 122nd place. His withdrawal after making the cut last week put his status in jeopardy, but he ended up 13 little ol' points on the good side of the cutoff. He has an ankle injury but hopefully can compete. He will need to do well this week in order to advance.
Typically about 6-7 players on the bubble will advance to the top 100 cutoff for next week. Compton fits that mold, and Swafford is essentially there as well. But you really just have to beat the guys immediately ahead of you to advance. World #2 Rory McIlroy (Spieth passed him at the PGA with his 2nd place finish) will sit out to rest his ankle, and a total of 6 qualifiers will not play. They are almost exclusively high on the list and thus exempt into week 2 as well (math).
The course is Plainfield Country Club, about an hour outside NYC in northern Jersey. Yep, Jersey. It's a Donald Ross design, fairly well received, and plays just over 7,000 yards. Built in the 20's, it is old school at it's finest.
TV coverage is a bit more extended, and Golf Channel will have it 2-6 pm ET Thursday and Friday, and Saturday from 1-2:30 pm, and Sunday noon-1:30 pm. CBS has Saturday from 3-6 pm ET, and Sunday from 2-6 pm ET (yes, it likely will get in the way of "60 Minutes"). So since you don't want to watch preseason NFL in which your top fantasy WR goes down with a torn ACL on a meaningless play, and though the Braves are at home where they're actually decent but they're playing the Yankees and that always sucks, turn it on over to golf and let's watch guys who look like we do play for obscene amounts of money.