Nobody asked but here are five things you ought to know about the FedEx Cup playoffs, which start this week with the Barclay’s at Liberty National:
One. Tiger Woods is playing. That may be all you really need to know. Woods skipped this event two years ago but not this time. You can expect the TV coverage to show Tiger’s every shot. Probably even him pulling into the parking lot.
Two. The FedEx Cup points — those annoying and meaningless point totals which Golf Channel and CBS kept jamming down your throats all year — don’t reset for the playoffs this year, as in the past two years. The points will continue to accumulate until the final 30 players advance to the Tour Championship, the last stop. It never made sense before to have this contrived points list all season and then throw it out when the playoffs start.
At the Tour Championship, in NASCAR terms, everyone will be reset to the same lap and theoretically have a chance to win the $10 million first prize. The top five players in points are guaranteed to have a chance to win.
Three. Be prepared to be shocked. The point standings could be more volatile than a bad day on the New York Stock Exchange. A win in one of the FedEx Cup playoff events will be worth five times more than a regular season tour event. That’s right, five times — 2,500 points in the playoffs versus 500 points before. That should contribute to a worst-to-first potential to make the race a little more exciting. In the FedEx Cup’s first two years, there was little doubt about the outcome going into the final event. The revisions should rectify that.
Four. This is still the most lucrative cash extravaganza in golf. The money is, for lack of a better word, staggering. The $10 million first prize by itself would rank 91st on the PGA Tour’s all-time money list. A third-place FedEx Cup finish is worth $2 million, still way more than what any of the four major championships pay out and about double most regular-season events. The guy who finishes dead last, 125th in points, still gets a little something for the effort — $70,000. Given the economic downturn and the rough shape that some PGA Tour sponsors are in, it’s going to be pretty interesting to see what happens to this pay scale in the next iteration of the FedEx Cup, if there is one. FedEx reportedly put up $50 million a year for six years. That deal may be tough to match but a renewal is still three years away.
Five. Did we mention that Tiger Woods is playing? Thought so.