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PGA Tour Confidential: Brandt Snedeker wins FedEx playoffs, Ryder Cup preview

Brandt Snedeker
Carlos M. Saavedra / SI
Brandt Snedeker won the Tour Championship by three shots, and with it, a $10 million FedEx Cup bonus.

Every Sunday night, the editorial staff of the SI Golf Group conducts an e-mail roundtable. Check in every week for the unfiltered opinions of our writers and editors and join the conversation in the comments section below.

SNEDEKER IS RICH, BUT IS HE ELITE?
David Dusek, deputy editor, Golf.com: Well, well, well … Mr. Snedeker's bank account just got a lot more active. Thanks to a clutch putter, Brandt Snedeker was able to overcome a double bogey on the par-3 sixth hole Sunday and win the Tour Championship, the FedEx Cup and a total of $11.4 million. Does this put Snedeker among the game's elites?

Alan Shipnuck, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: He's on the way, but not quite there yet. This was a big-time performance; do it again a couple more times and I'll start throwing around the "e" word.

Michael Bamberger, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: Did Bill Haas's win last year make him one of the game's elite players? No. Winning is always good, but no.

Jim Herre, managing editor, SI Golf Group: I think Sneds has arrived. Love his pace of play, his demeanor, his funky putting stroke, and did you hear him in the booth on Saturday? He'll be an analyst somewhere when he retires.

Mark Godich, senior editor, Sports Illustrated: I love how he steps up and hits it, but let's not anoint him just yet. Perhaps Sneds could get some advice from Bill Haas.

Ryan Reiterman, senior producer, Golf.com: Nah. Love Snedeker's game, but he's got a ways to go. This is the first time he's won with a lead. I'm more interested in seeing how he does next week. I think he's got the perfect style of play for the Ryder Cup.

Jeff Ritter, senior producer, Golf.com: I liked how after making a watery double on the treacherous par-3 sixth hole, he just went right back to work. Didn't make another bogey until the 18th, when the outcome was decided. A great win, but I agree that he's not yet in the elite class -- only the wealthiest.

Cameron Morfit, senior writer, Golf Magazine: I liked what Snedeker said: playing for money guarantees you'll be scraping it around near 150th on the money list; playing to win takes care of the money. I guess he proved his point.

Gary Van Sickle, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: Snedeker's play this week, plus his British Open performance, means he's a player who may win some major championships. He has elevated his status, but he's not among the elite players until he starts piling up more wins and bigger wins. Don't forget, he beat only 29 guys this week. This win should probably come with an asterisk. It barely qualifies as a golf outing, let alone a tournament.

Stephanie Wei, contributor, SI Golf+: I love Snedeker's demeanor and style. He doesn't waste any time hitting the ball, and his putting is phenomenal. I walked with him for five holes yesterday, and he was on cruise control. He looked unstoppable. Afterward, his caddie, Scott Vail, who seemed way more jacked up than Brandt, said to his friend, "He was so calm!" I think Brandt has arrived.

Tell us what you think in the comments section below: Does this win put Snedeker in the elite class?

POINTS POSTMORTEM
Dusek: Most of us agree that what we like most about the FedEx Cup is that it gets most of the big-name players to compete after the PGA Championship. Would you keep the point system, the venues, the off week before the Tour Championship, and the field sizes? If you were in charge, what's the one thing you'd most like to see changed?

Ritter: I'd make the Tour Championship match play, because that's a fitting end to a true playoff system. Also, a friend of mine had another brilliant idea that I really wish I could claim as my own: for the match play brackets, allow the top seeds to select their opponents in each round. Imagine the headlines: "McIlroy calls out Woods for first-round match." You're telling me TV networks couldn't get behind that?

Morfit: I love that. It makes more sense and is more compelling.

Reiterman: We need to get your friend a blazer and an executive job in Ponte Vedra.

Shipnuck: One quibble: why the cuss don't they play one event on the West Coast?

Godich: But you've got the Fall Series. Quit complaining!

John Garrity, contributing writer, Sports Illustrated: I like all of it except the point system. They need a computer to tell you what's happening and another computer to check on the first computer's algorithm.

Bamberger: New York, Boston, Chicago (usually) and Atlanta -- you can't go wrong there. The courses I'm less sure about, except East Lake, which is unspeakably good. The size of the fields they don't have right -- and you certainly need many more at the finale to give it heft. The point system is not even close to making sense.

Herre: I like the revolving venues for the Barclays and the BMW, and the week off before the Tour Championship. My only nit is that guys can miss one of the early events and still win the big prize.

Godich: I still don't get the point system. At one point on Friday, Tiger was tied for fourth and Rory was tied for ninth. Yet amazingly, if the tournament had ended at that point, Tiger would've won the FedEx Cup despite finishing 38th, third and tied for fourth in the other three events. He would've passed McIlroy, who was 24th, first and first. Later, when Jim Furyk took the lead, he was in line to win the bonus despite a missed cut, a tie for 13th and a solo ninth. Just doesn't seem right.

Wei: Even the Tour's in-house "experts" have trouble figuring out the points. There was a handout of "simplified scenarios" in the press tent this week. Here's a sample for McIlroy: "If he wins the Tour Championship, he wins the Cup; has a reasonable chance of winning with a top-five finish; can finish as low as 29th and still have a mathematical chance of winning." That's not simple. And what does "reasonable" mean, exactly? I've always thought match play at the Tour Championship would be much more exciting.

Morfit: I don't get the points thing either. I just try to enjoy the golf. But it's only been six years.

Van Sickle: The points system doesn't work. It's too complicated, although losing it would mean Steve Sands wouldn't get to draw numbers on a board. The venues don't matter. The simplicity of going to total score for the four events is too obvious to ignore, but the Tour wants to reset the points to make the finish artificially close. Even if Rory McIlroy had won all three of the first playoff events by 12 shots each, his lead going to Atlanta would've been exactly the same.

Charlie Hanger, executive editor, Golf.com: At this point, I think the only real flaw is the complicated points system, but I like that anyone who makes it to the Tour Championship has a chance to win the Cup. I think Gary's total-points-in-relation-to-par would be cool, but I also really like the idea of somehow incorporating match play into the format.

Herre: The only drawback to Gary's system is that if it had been applied, McIlroy had such a large lead that this year's Tour Championship would've been irrelevant.

Van Sickle: Sorry. I forgot nobody's allowed to play that much better than everyone else, as Rory did for four weeks. The fact that Snedeker would've finished fourth in straight-up scoring just proves how jerry-rigged the points system is.

Herre: C'mon, Gary. That would have meant death for the Tour Championship, and you know as well as I do that the PGA Tour is part show business.

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