The Loop

In defense of Billy Horschel and the FedEx Cup

August 27, 2015

Never have so few been mocked so much by so many.

The FedEx Cup format, on the derision scale, is low-hanging fruit. That includes these parts; sometimes you can't help yourself from swiping such sweet nectar.

While the PGA Tour's postseason does need addressing, an unintended upshot has been the chaffing of some of its past winners. Most notably, Billy Horschel and Bill Haas, with the recurring theme of "how can we take this thing seriously when its champions are of a lesser pedigree?"

Concededly, Horschel and Haas -- and to a lesser extent, Henrik Stenson and Brandt Snedeker -- aren't the type of names that draw the casual fan to the course. Moreover, their major championship resume, or lack thereof, doesn't help their causes (Horschel's best 2014 major finish was a t-23 at the U.S. Open; when he won the FedEx Cup in 2011, Haas didn't crack the top 10).

However, the FedEx Cup isn't a reward for the best player of the season. No one is saying Horschel had a better 2014 than Rory McIlroy, who won four times, including two majors. There's a separate honor for that.

Moreover, why do golf fans harbor the outlook that the FedEx Cup should be indicative of regular-season performance? I don't remember anyone putting an asterisk on an eight-loss Connecticut Huskies team beating a Kentucky Wildcats club with 10 losses in the 2014 NCAA Championship. Same goes with the 2011 New York Giants, who won the Super Bowl despite owning a 9-7 record, or the 2006 St. Louis Cardinals, World Series champs with a mediocre 83-78 mark.

Sure, Horschel isn't a household name. That doesn't mean the FedEx Cup was given to him. Man was scorching last fall, finishing second at the Deutsche Bank Championship before capturing back-to-back Ws at the BMW and Tour Championships.

So if someone not named Jordan Spieth or Jason Day wins this year's cup, don't shake your head in scorn. That player just beat the world's best over a four-tournament span. Such a performance deserves praise, not put-downs.