What if ... the FedEx Cup used par for scoring? 54-hole update

What if … the FedEx Cup used par for scoring? 54-hole update

Paul Casey would be one of the players tied for the lead in the FedEx Cup in a par-scoring system.
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

According to PGA Tour projections, Jim Furyk is on track to win the FedEx Cup and its $10 million bonus. Of course, that’s only based on how the points fall as the players stand after 54 holes and heading into today’s final round.

Matt Kuchar ranks second, Dustin Johnson is third and Luke Donald and Charley Hoffman are tied for fourth in the overall points race. Where would Kuchar have to finish to inch ahead of Furyk? Well, that’s complicated.

If the FedEx Cup race was based on cumulative score in relation to par for the four FedEx Cup playoff events, you’d know exactly where everybody stood and it would be quite a sprint to the finish today for the $10 mill. I’ve supplied an updated leaderboard below after 54 holes if the FedEx Cup used the par-scoring system I explained earlier this week on Golf.com (and have pushed for the last few years).

The way it stands now, there’s a four-way tie for first between Hoffman, Donald, Steve Stricker and Paul Casey at 27-under par. Kuchar and Retief Goosen are three shots back at -24, while Adam Scott is at -21. Kuchar, Goosen and Scott would still have an excellent chance at overtaking the leaders because each FedEx Cup win comes with a five-shot scoring bonus.

As noted earlier, the cumulative par system is based on scores for all four tournaments and players who failed to finish one of the four for missing the cut, like Phil Mickelson did, or being disqualified, like Furyk did, are excluded from my leaderboard. Likewise, there are players who would’ve been playing under the par system (like Tiger Woods at -18, Charlie Wi at -17 and Y.E. Yang at -16) but didn’t qualify under the actual FedEx Cup system and aren’t in Atlanta.

Dustin Johnson, one of the FedEx Cup winners who got a five-shot scoring bonus, is seven-over par at the Tour Championship. He has lost 14 shots, for example, to Donald, who is seven under.

For the sake of argument, here’s the leaderboard to par through 54 holes:

-27 Paul Casey
-27 Luke Donald
-27 Charley Hoffman
-27 Steve Stricker
-24 Matt Kuchar
-24 Retief Goosen
-21 Adam Scott
-18 Jason Day
-17 Kevin Na
-16 Dustin Johnson
-14 Bubba Watson
-10 Nick Watney
-9 Kevin Streelman
-8 Zach Johnson
-6 Ryan Palmer

36-Hole Update

Halfway through the Tour Championship, you still can’t tell who’s winning the FedEx Cup and its eye-popping $10 million bonus.

Check the projected point standings at PGATour.com and you’ll see that Luke Donald is the potential winner. But that’s not accurate. Because Donald and Jim Furyk are tied for the Tour Championship lead after two rounds, the computer gives each of them credit for the 2,500 points that come with winning the Tour Championship. Great, except only one of them can win and therefore, only one of them can score the 2,500-point bonus.

As I wrote earlier this week on Golf.com (and as I write every year), the only sensible way to keep score in the FedEx Cup playoffs is to use cumulative par for the four playoff events.

For the sake of argument below, I compiled how the FedEx Cup standings would look right now if the tour used total score for the four weeks instead of its complicate point projections.
Keep in mind that there are a few glitches with the four-week total. Only players who played in all four weeks are eligible. Players who missed the cut or skipped a week are out of my scoreboard, and that includes Phil Mickelson, who failed to make the weekend at the Barclays; Furyk, who was disqualified from the Barclays because he missed his pro-am tee time; and Geoff Ogilvy, among others.

Also missing are players who would’ve been in the hunt in my system but didn’t make the final 30 in Atlanta. That includes Tiger Woods, -18; Charlie Wi, -17; Y.E. Yang, -16; and Michael Sim, -11.

Note that I awarded a five-shot bonus to the winners of the playoff events — Matt Kuchar, Charley Hoffman and Dustin Johnson so far. The Tour Championship winner would also get a five-stroke advantage.

This means if Luke Donald were to win right now, that five-shot edge would boost him past co-leaders Kuchar and Hoffman for the title and the $10 million?

Cumulative Par Leaderboard
-31 Matt Kuchar
-31 Charley Hoffman
-25 Dustin Johnson
-25 Steve Stricker
-20 Adam Scott
-20 Retief Goosen
-19 Jason Day
-18 Kevin Streelman
-16 Kevin Na
-11 Bubba Watson
-9 Ryan Palmer