October 29, 2007

PGA Tour: FedEx Cup Changes

Joe Durant, Tour Policy Board member, details the latest possibilities

Durant wants to see more movement in the standings during playoff events.

Durant wants to see more movement in the standings during playoff events.

After nearly an entire season spent second-guessing, debunking and ridiculing the FedEx Cup and all its glorious quirkiness, suddenly everyone wants to know what it's going to look like next year. Maybe the Magic 8 Ball has an answer. Will there be a week off before the Ryder Cup? Signs point to yes. Will fewer players start? Reply hazy, try again. Will more players be eliminated? Better not tell you now. Will anyone besides Tiger Woods have a chance of winning? Don't count on it.

Better even than a Magic 8 Ball, however, is Joe Durant, the lone member of the policy board who played in last week's Ginn sur Mer Classic at Tesoro in Port St. Lucie, Fla. According to Durant, when it comes to the much-anticipated tweaks, Ponte Vedra has been all ears.

"I will say this. After the FedEx Cup was over this year, they were open to ­pretty much any and all suggestions," he said. "They want to make it better going forward, as we all do. The flip side of that, we sat in Scottsdale last week [to] talk about changing the point structure and [said] we'd like to see some models, but there were no models presented to us to show us how it would change. I think guys were frustrated with that because we want to see what's on the table. What can we do to change it? Now, we're going to have another PAC [Players Advisory Council] meeting by phone after next week and then we have the policy-board meeting after that. We've got to make some ­pretty quick decisions. The point structure doesn't necessarily have to be changed until the playoffs, but guys just want to have it put to bed."

There are other issues beyond the point structure. "How's the money going to be paid out, will that change?" Durant asked. "I think the federal government is going to dictate a little bit of that. I think more than anything, guys want to see a little more volatility at the end of the year, especially in the playoff tournaments. When you only have one or two or three guys moving in and out of tournaments, that's not enough movement, I don't think. Most guys felt the same way."

The hot topic of the moment is how the playoffs will co-exist with the Ryder Cup. "There are a couple different scenarios out there right now," Durant said. "I think what everyone's leaning toward is moving the Tour Championship after the Ryder Cup. We need to go out there and play well in the Ryder Cup. We need to win that thing. To move the Tour Championship after the Ryder Cup is probably the best way to do [the schedule]. I think [commissioner] Tim [Finchem] went to the PGA of America to see if they had any flexibility, which they didn't. They couldn't [move] it. That's totally understandable, obviously. This is what we're dealing with, and we just have to try to move something around."

According to Durant, after '08, the most desirable scenario for all concerned would be to have an open week after the Tour Championship, followed by either the Presidents Cup or Ryder Cup -- ­exactly the way the schedule played out in '07. "Yes, that will certainly be the consideration going forward," he said.