Here’s What’s Wrong With The PGA Tour Playoffs

Here’s what’s wrong with the FedEx Cup playoffs: Of the 124 players who made the playoffs, 87 will move on to the second round regardless of their finish this week. That’s not so much a playoff as a procession.

Of course, there’ll be some jockeying for position. A higher finish puts a player in better position for the event two weeks from now. Players outside the ten or so need to finish high to have a chance, points wise to win the big prize.

There also are some big name players on the outside looking in. But there’s just not enough uncertainty. I think it’s uncertainty that makes playoffs in other sports so potent. Once the playoffs begin in football and baseball, any team could make a run.

With the FedEx Cup, it’s already possible to project who will be in the Top 30. According to the PGA Tour website, Nick Watney, Steve Stricker, Webb Simpson, Luke Donald, Keegan Bradley, Phil Mickelson, K.J. Choi, and Bubba Watson are locks. That’s like saying that the Pittsburgh Steelers are automatically in the playoffs—regardless of what they do—and the other teams are playing for the remaining spot.

I’d like to see a fifty percent attrition rate in each round of the playoffs—and a point system geared to ensure that only the top ten automatically move on to the next round. Further, we shouldn’t know who’ll be in the final field until the week before.

For the curious, a chart of which players automatically progress—and how high the others have to finish to move on—follows:

Rank Player To Play Next Week
1 Nick Watney Locked
2 Steve Stricker Locked
3 Webb Simpson Locked
4 Luke Donald Locked
5 Keegan Bradley Locked
6 Phil Mickelson Locked
7 K.J. Choi Locked
8 Bubba Watson Locked
9 David Toms Locked
10 Gary Woodland Locked
11 Mark Wilson Locked
12 Matt Kuchar Locked
13 Adam Scott Locked
14 Jason Day Locked
15 Bill Haas Locked
16 Fredrik Jacobson Locked
17 Martin Laird Locked
18 Brandt Snedeker Locked
19 Dustin Johnson Locked
20 Hunter Mahan Locked
22 Aaron Baddeley Locked
23 Rory Sabbatini Locked
24 Jonathan Byrd Locked
25 Jason Dufner Locked
26 Charles Howell III Locked
27 D.A. Points Locked
28 Rickie Fowler Locked
29 Spencer Levin Locked
30 Tommy Gainey Locked
31 Scott Stallings Locked
32 Zach Johnson Locked
33 Chris Kirk Locked
34 Steve Marino Locked
35 Jhonattan Vegas Locked
36 Vijay Singh Locked
37 Ryan Palmer Locked
38 Ryan Moore Locked
39 Bo Van Pelt Locked
40 Lucas Glover Locked
41 Brendan Steele Locked
42 Brandt Jobe Locked
43 Y.E. Yang Locked
44 Justin Rose Locked
45 Robert Karlsson Locked
46 Brendon de Jonge Locked
47 Kevin Na Locked
48 Kyle Stanley Locked
49 Charley Hoffman Locked
50 John Senden Locked
51 Sean O’Hair Locked
52 Pat Perez Locked
53 Robert Garrigus Locked
54 George McNeill Locked
55 Carl Pettersson Locked
56 Brian Gay Locked
57 Brian Davis Locked
58 Robert Allenby Locked
59 Sergio Garcia Locked
60 Jim Furyk Locked
61 Harrison Frazar Locked
62 Andres Romero Locked
63 Jerry Kelly Locked
64 Cameron Tringale Locked
65 Kris Blanks Locked
67 Blake Adams Locked
68 Jimmy Walker Locked
69 Jeff Overton Locked
70 John Rollins Locked
71 Kevin Streelman Locked
72 J.J. Henry Locked
73 Charlie Wi Locked
74 Chad Campbell Locked
75 Scott Verplank Locked
76 Chez Reavie Locked
77 Johnson Wagner Locked
78 Chris Couch Locked
79 Geoff Ogilvy Locked
80 Scott Piercy Locked
81 Davis Love III Locked
82 Stewart Cink Locked
83 Ricky Barnes Locked
84 Troy Matteson Locked
85 Ryuji Imada Locked
86 Ben Crane Locked
87 Marc Leishman Locked
88 Kevin Chappell 70
89 Hunter Haas 69
90 Chris DiMarco 69
91 Bryce Molder 68
92 Anthony Kim 67
93 Graeme McDowell 67
94 Paul Goydos 64
95 Trevor Immelman 63
96 Nick O’Hern 62
97 Matt Bettencourt 62
98 Tim Herron 61
99 Michael Bradley 60
100 Greg Chalmers 60
101 Retief Goosen 57
102 Tom Gillis 56
103 Bill Lunde 55
104 John Merrick 53
105 Kevin Stadler 52
106 Chris Stroud 52
107 Michael Thompson 52
108 Vaughn Taylor 49
109 Camilo Villegas 49
110 Josh Teater 48
111 D.J. Trahan 48
112 Heath Slocum 47
113 Stuart Appleby 47
114 Ian Poulter 47
115 Rod Pampling 47
116 Joe Ogilvie 42
117 David Hearn 42
118 Ernie Els 41
119 Billy Mayfair 40
120 James Driscoll 40
121 Steve Flesch 40
122 Steven Bowditch 39
123 Arjun Atwal 37
124 Padraig Harrington 37
125 William McGirt 36

1 thought on “Here’s What’s Wrong With The PGA Tour Playoffs”

  1. Yes I agree the system could use some changes. For a lot of these guys that are guaranteed to get through they are basically just turning out for practice rounds and to earn some money.

    They should narrow it down somewhere so at least a larger portion of the players are playing for something other than money.


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