PGA Tour Confidential: Is Graeme McDowell now the British Open favorite?

Jordan Spieth
Steve Helber / AP
Jordan Spieth has had some recent success on Tour, but remains a long shot to qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs.

5. Jordan Spieth, who finished T23 at Greenbrier, has six top-10 finishes in 15 starts this year. Spieth, 19, has earned temporary status on the PGA Tour and is clearly one of the top 125 players on Tour, but the only way he can qualify for the FedEx Cup playoffs is with a victory. Fair?

Godich: I don't understand how a guy who makes enough money to earn temporary Tour status isn't acknowledged as a Tour member. And shouldn't the goal be to start the playoffs with the 125 players who have performed the best over the course of the year?

Passov: Fair. Stupid, but fair. The pros, via their policy board, make the rules, presumably to protect everybody and favor nobody. If Spieth has earned the right to qualify through his excellent play, let him in -- that's democracy and free enterprise at work. But rules are rules. Change the rule. Want to know why Jack Nicklaus never played on a Ryder Cup team until 1969? Same deal.

Van Sickle: The PGA Tour has a lot of rules to keep outsiders off the Tour. Especially outsiders who are good players. I don't agree with many of its membership rules, especially the non-member money list. There should be one money list, member or no member. If you're a non-member and you can manage to win more money than the members, more power to you. You should be rewarded with a spot in the FedEx Cup, among other things, not punished for starting the year on the outside.

Morfit: That seems like a weird rule. He's having a great year. There should be a way for that kid to be playoff-eligible.

Ritter: The FedEx playoffs exist solely to create compelling TV shows in September, not to be fair. So, yes, Spieth is getting jobbed.

Bamberger: The question assumes I understand anything about the FedEx point system. But on its face, and because the Tour is doing the gate-keeping here, I'll say unfair.

6. A Houston Chronicle editorial proposed that the USGA make the purse of the U.S. Women's Open equal to that of the Men's Open. (Justin Rose took home $1.44 million at Merion; Inbee Park won $585,000 at Sebonack.) What do you think of this idea?

Ritter: The USGA could make a great statement by making that move, and they surely have the cash. Go for it.

Bamberger: It's a nice theory and a worthy goal, but prize money is not a place to practice equal opportunity. It is rooted in TV deals, viewership, ticket sales, blah, blah, blah. The men dominate in those categories. It would be cool if they didn't, but this is the marketplace at work.

Passov: Ridiculous. The reason the tennis women achieved equality at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open is that they were part of the same tournament as the men, and in some/many cases, were the stronger attraction, even if they were on the court for less time. The U.S. Women's Open is a separate event from the men's Open. Let the market determine what the payouts should be. Should we kick in the same prizes for the U.S. Senior Open, so that we're not seen as discriminating against seniors? No, thanks.

Morfit: Seems like an easier idea to sell in tennis, where the women and men play the Grand Slams same time, place. Maybe that's why the USGA is trying the back-to-back thing at Pinehurst next year.

Godich: I'm all for the women getting what they deserve, but until they start attracting anywhere near the crowds, sponsors and TV ratings, they don't have much of a case. That said, it would be nice to see the USGA do something to at least close the gap in the purses.

Van Sickle: I'm pretty sure the Houston Chronicle didn't mention how much the Women's Open makes in profit versus the men's U.S. Open, if it even makes a profit. It's a ludicrous suggestion. The events don't generate anything remotely similar in levels of interest or revenue. I suppose WNBA players should make the same salaries as NBA players, too, in the name of fairness. The Houston Chronicle needs to call Parker Brothers and get a Clue.

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