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Golf Australia Express : Issue 50
DOES THE FEDEX CUP series work? It’s a question that seems to arise this time every year, and with each earth orbit of the sun it appears the answer gets closer and closer to ‘yes’. Of course the merit of the answer depends on what you want the season- ending series to be. Is it a major tournament equivalent? Nope. Is it an entirely fair series? Not on your nelly. Is it an exciting way to round out the PGA Tour season? Hell yeah. We know there’s no motivator quite like money and the FedEx Cup throws around more dosh than a Vegas playboy. With $8 million prize purses at each of the four Playoffs events and a $10 million bonus for the overall winner at series end from a $35 million bonus prize pool, there’s little wonder players crave to make the FedEx cut. After all, a career season can be made in just one event. Players love it and fans are starting to. Like it or not, the cash grab also guarantees a spectacle for spectators as high stakes events create more competitive (read ‘higher quality’) golf. But it didn’t always look like the FedEx Cup was headed for success. Today it seems much of the criticism surrounding the series stems from its shaky start in 2007. That year Tiger Woods made a farce of the first instalment, choosing to play only three of the four Playoffs tournaments, winning two of them and shooting a ridiculous 59-under for the series. It turned a series being touted by the PGA Tour as a revolutionary twist to the year’s end, into a complete yawn-fest. Yet with annual tweaking of the format, it appears the Tour has finally found a formula that—on the whole—works pretty well. The FedEx Cup is getting more traction with each staging as players, punters and pundits better understand the complex and evolving format of the series. So with five years under the belt and a sixth staging about to play out, can its model now be considered perfect? Not yet. The fact European Tour players remain ineligible to compete belts a sizeable dent in the FedEx claim to have 125 of the world’s best golfers competing. But to be fair, it a PGA Tour series aimed at promoting that Tour above all others. Is the competition fair? Not entirely. But its’ actually one of the endearing aspects of the series—one that creates a greater level of suspense and offers an outsider the chance to snatch a life-changing dream. Speak to Bill Haas about that. Few gave last year’s TOUR Championship and FedExCup winner a real chance at the double-digit million-dollar carrot. But what resulted was a playoff with Hunter COVER STORY THE Bill Haas is one of just four men—including Tiger Woods twice—to have won the $10 million FedEx Cup bonus cheque. Haas' exciting up-and-down from out of water at the 2011 TOUR Championship has helped foster interest in this year's race. And It all starts at The Barclays this week. We know there’s no motivator quite like money and the FedEx Cup throws around more dosh than a Vegas playboy.