Mark over at SportsBiz Blog offers his take on the new PGA Fedex Cup format. He generally likes the idea, but has a major reservation:
While I applaud the Tour’s concept, it’s the execution I have some issues with. The idea of a season long points chase for a spot in the playoffs is a good one and one that is likely to increase interest in tournaments all season long. However, how many golfers do you think qualify for the season ending Playoffs? 50? 100? No, 144. Now, how many golfers do you think qualify for Tour season exemptions allowing them to play in tournaments all season long? Only 125 – that’s right, there are more golfers in the Playoffs then on the points chase leading up to them.
Mark wonders why they aren’t using the playoffs to eliminate golfers, so that the final weekend consists of the top 20 or so.
I think that it’s for the same reason that the tour and television don’t like match play. They’re deathly afraid that a popular player will be eliminated early, reducing fan interest. If a fan likes player x, and player x isn’t playing, then they’re not going to buy tickets to the tournament—or they won’t watch on television.