Six Ways to Make the Playoffs Better

Woody Austin at 2007 Stanford St. Jude Championship
Marc Feldman/WireImage
The star-challenged Stanford St. Jude Championship, won this year by Woody Austin (above), would be the last stop of the second trimester.

The FedEx Cup is a season long event, and one of its aims was to entice top players to tee it up more often. Check the 2006 money list and you'll see that the top 10 money winners averaged only 21.4 starts, with Tiger Woods playing a bare-minimum 15. But the players who ranked 21st through 30th in earnings averaged 26.7 starts.

How can we get the top guys to play more? We split the FedEx Cup season into three roughly equivalent mini seasons. The top finisher in each third is guaranteed a ranking equivalent to 10th place on the reset at the start of the playoffs, and each trimester runner-up is guaranteed the equivalent of 16th place. (If someone finishes higher in the seasonlong standings, he starts from the higher position.)

Splitting the season could be a real incentive because the Tour's own computer models show that the FedEx Cup champion will most likely come from the top 15 positions. Using the 2007 schedule, we'd end the first third after the Shell Houston Open in early March. The second third would run from the Masters through the Stanford St. Jude Championship in June, and the final third would end with the Wyndham Championship.

In theory, a player who gets off to a good start on the West Coast might decide to add tournaments and try to win the first third. Also, a split schedule would focus attention on the FedEx Cup points race from the get-go.

Using the three-miniseason setup described above, bump up the FedEx points available at the three tournaments that end each trimester from 25,000 to 40,000.

The opportunity to guarantee yourself a top 10 start in the playoffs with one big week should draw a lot of players into the field and heat up the competition.

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