Tag:fedex cup
Posted on: February 22, 2012 9:54 am
Edited on: February 22, 2012 10:44 am
 

FedEx re-ups for 5 years and even more dinero

By Steve Elling

MARANA, Ariz. -- Crossing another massive item off his to-do list, PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem on Wednesday announced that the mega-money FedEx Cup competition has been extended through 2017 and will include gradual increases in paydays for players.

Speaking for the players on tour: Cha-ching.

At minimum, the extension is worth $175 million based on current sponsorship level of $35 annually toward the pot of golfing gold delivered to players at the end of the financial rainbow. The winner under the current deal receives $10 million at the FedEx finale in Atlanta, one of the biggest paydays in all of sports.

"We're delighted with the opportunity to make this announcement,"' Finchem said, moments before the Accenture Match Play event began at Dove Mountain. "That's become a big part of what the PGA Tour is all about."

Impressively, in the past five months, the tour has secured lucrative and long-term deals with broadcasters CBS and NBC, signed Finchem to a four-year deal, and pushed the FedEx deal along for another five seasons.

Better still, the $10 million paid out to the FedEx winner will almost certainly increase over the coming phase, as will the cash for others in the season-long points derby.

"We will have some growth," Finchem said. "We'll continue to go forward, not backward, in this term."

FedEx quickly jumped on board with the proposal to blow up the existing calendar, start the season in the fall in 2013 and make over the Nationwide/Q-school process as well. That would bring the current Fall Series events into the fold as FedEx series stops, which they currently are not, though it would create a wraparound season similar to the NBA or NHL.

"We're verity pleased with the decision to extend the season," said Mike Glenn, the FedEx marketing chief.

That's not a done deal just yet, Finchem cautioned. The tour Policy Board must sign off on the huge seasonal makeover next month during a meeting March 19 at Bay Hill.

"Clearly it makes the FedEx Cup bigger," Finchem said of the proposal.

Despite seemingly annual criticism of the confusing FedEx points system, Glenn said to company is happy with the current design, given the way the pat few tour finales have played out.

"I can only point to the last two years when we literally felt the winner changed shot by shot on Sunday, which is what the experts would really like to have happen every year," Glenn said. "The drama that plays itself out now at the Tour Championship, and particularly on Sunday, when literally the winner hangs in the balance of the very next shot, that is probably best illustrated by Bill Haas' shot out of the water on No. 17.

"I don't know how much more drama we can get. I think the changes in the point system have really contributed to that. Are there opportunities to improve it further? Perhaps. But we're pretty pleased with where it is right now. "

We're not talking about drama, per se, but clarity, but we'll save that critique for the fall.

As for what's next on his work menu, Finchem laughed. At this point, with the 2013 seasonal makeover seemingly moving toward a conclusion, the biggest items have been crossed off. He still needs some sponsors in selected events and an umbrella sponsor for the Nationwide Tour. The insurance company's contract ends after this season is concluded.

"I'll be happy to lay out for you six or eight key things that are going to dominate a lot of my time over the next two or three years," he laughed.

Posted on: August 19, 2011 5:00 pm
 

Tiger: Video shoot over Greensboro shots

ORLANDO, Fla. – The dissonance and disconnect continue.

A few days ago in Atlanta, former world No. 1 Tiger Woods said he had family obligations that this week precluded him from making a last-ditch attempt at qualifying for the much-hyped FedEx Cup playoffs.

Then he spent Tuesday posing for new video game animation and publicity shots.

As though things aren’t bad enough on the golf course for Woods, already plunging down the world rankings after missing the cut last week at the 93rd PGA Championship, he’s all but begging to get hammered over his latest myopic management decision.

Without clarifying, Woods indicated in Atlanta that he had family obligations this week, which most assumed meant he had custodial scheduling issues with his children that could not be reworked.

Fine, dandy. Feel free to examine that logic at your leisure, if you so desire, especially since he claimed for two straight week that he needs “reps” in order to get his game back.

Seem like a mixed message? We’re just getting started.

Woods spent Tuesday at EA Sports in suburban Orlando filming computer footage for a new version of his video game, then engaged in a publicity stunt to promote sales by playing a teenager who won a national contest for the right to face Woods on the virtual golf course.

Maybe it’s just me, but what message does that send to Greensboro, the million-dollar FedEx Cup series title sponsors, the TV networks paying rights fees and golf in general – even if he does have custody of the kids?

Amazingly, the PGA Tour saw fit to pimp the EA Sports publicity stunts on its website Friday, even though Woods’ decision to skip Greensboro reads an awful lot like a tacit message that he doesn’t care about the FedEx Cup – or not enough to choose playing actual golf in lieu of satisfying one of his last remaining endorsement clients.

Custody of the kids or not, it smells all wrong and screams, “I am not there.”

Turning Tuesday’s EA Sports outing into a series of propaganda stunts – publicity photos of Woods at the video shoot were splashed over at least two notable golf-related websites Thursday -- is just plain begging for more criticism and scrutiny at a time when Woods can ill afford it.

This week in Greensboro, a slew of big names like three-time major winners Padraig Harrington, Ernie Els and Vijay Singh are trying to make the cut and move up in the FedEx Cup standing. This marks the last week to secure additional points in order to qualify for the four-event playoff series beginning next week at The Barclays in Edison, N.J.

As for Woods, all the public knows for sure is that he spent one day this week helping hawk a video game.

PGA Tour communications chief Ty Votaw acknowledged Friday that the organization has a licensing deal with EA Sports, but would not elaborate about revenue percentages or other financial particulars of the contract.

Votaw also declined to discuss or express an opinion about whether Woods’ decision to conduct corporate-related business instead of playing at least indirectly sends the wrong message about the importance of the FedEx Cup.

As for the kid from Indiana who won the right to play Woods on his video game? The PGA Tour story noted that the 19-year-old held a 10-shot lead over Woods at one point.

Posted on: August 19, 2011 3:24 pm
 

Bring a boat to FedEx series Barclays opener?

Already short the services of a guy who won the overall points bonus in two of the first four stagings of the FedEx Cup, the series opener next week might be missing something nearly as desirable.

Forget the absence of Tiger Woods. We’re talking about decent playing conditions.

Moving to Plainfield Country Club in Edison, N.J., for the first time, the FedEx-opening Barclays event looks like it’s going to be a sloppy, soppy proposition.

In a tournament notice released Friday by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, it was noted that it’s been raining buckets in the Northeast and more is in the forecast.

Plainfield’s tournament course was designed by famed Donald Ross in 1916 and has hosted the 1987 U.S. Women’s Open and the 1978 U.S. Amateur. It’s sometimes called the Green Monster.

Muddy Monster might be the case come tournament time. The course had been stressed by high heat before the summer deluge began a few days ago.

"This year has been especially difficult in the Northeast,” said Dennis Ingram, a PGA Tour agronomist. "[Plainfield] took a less-is-more approach this summer by not really pushing the envelope on green speeds and mowing heights.

“That discipline helped the bentgrass greens survive the high heat and humidity in July. Now we're basically where we need to be with heights, but with nine inches of rain in the last 10 days we haven't been able to get the speeds and firmness desired yet.

“Hopefully the course can dry out a little bit and we can get back on schedule, but it looks like Mother Nature isn't cutting us a break, with more rain likely on the way."

Next week marks the first time The Barclays has been held at Plainfield. A rotation of courses in the New York metropolitan area has been established, including Liberty National, two-time U.S. Open site Bethpage Black and two-time Barclays host Ridgewood C.C.

Pack your snorkels.

Category: Golf
Posted on: August 19, 2011 11:29 am
Edited on: August 19, 2011 11:30 am
 

FedEx Cup remains cartoonish idea to some

The PGA Tour's big-money FedEx Cup series begins next week, and if you still haven't figured out how the points are allocated after four years of trying, you are not alone.

PGA Tour veteran and former major champion Steve Elkington posted this drawing on his Twitter account Friday morning, along with tisd message: The Fedex cup, take top 125 $ earners, reset that to points, divided by the square root of the loft of my 4 iron....

That would be a caricature of PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem on the right, of course.


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Category: Golf
Posted on: August 7, 2011 1:36 pm
Edited on: August 7, 2011 1:39 pm
 

Casey needs at-bats -- U.S. card at stake

AKRON, Ohio -- Paul Casey, by his own words and admission, is "between a rock and a hard place."

That's not a reference to the immobilization plate he uses as an insert in his right shoe, either.

Casey, a former world No. 3 who has struggled since winning a European Tour event six months ago, has fallen to No. 149 in FedEx Cup points entering the Bridgestone Invitational and is looking at a full-on assault to try to get into the four playoff events.

Or at least a few of them. Because, failing that, he's looking at a trek through the Fall Series, tournaments where players of his ilk are not often spotted.

The former Ryder Cupper, now No. 15 in the world ranking, is the breathing personification of the risks associated with joint membership on both the PGA and European tours, and what can happen when schedules are plotted and assumptions are made -- even with the best intentions.

Casey, 34, planned on playing in at least two FedEx series events, but needs a monumental rally in order to crack the top 125 to become eligible. After playing in the PGA Championship next week, he has already has added the next tour stop, the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, N.C., to his revamped itinerary.

That will give him 13 starts in the States -- two shy of what he needs to retain his PGA Tour membership. If he can't crack the FedEx series, he has to sit out four weeks of U.S. competition.

"It's so great to be playing both tours when you are playing good golf and you're [entered and eligible] in everything," he said.

When you're not, players can end up in his predicament. Casey admitted that he assumed he'd be playing in at least a couple of FedEx starts to satisfy his U.S. requirements.

"You've got to plan for them," he laughed. "D'oh!"

At least he can laugh, which isn't exactly easy, since he's been fighting a turf-toe issue for two months and is playing with a stiff, carbon-fiber insert in his right shoe. His foot is taped up, he's been taking anti-inflammatories and icing the foot after each round.

The only remedy? Rest, as was the case two years ago when he missed several months with a ribcage injury when he was ranked third in the world.

"I seem to get the injuries that require rest," he cracked. "Surgery would be so much easier."

Casey said he will definitelly fulfill his 15 Stateside starts, even if it means playing in the Fall schedule at Las Vegas, San Jose, Sea Island or the season finale at Disney World to reach the total. He might need to play all four -- he's also buried at No. 140 on the money list and needs to move up 15 spots to remain fully exempt in 2012.

He should have no such hurdles reaching the 13 starts required to keep his European card. He'll hit No. 12 next week at the co-sanctioned PGA Championship in Atlanta.

Category: Golf
Posted on: August 4, 2011 11:53 am
Edited on: August 4, 2011 11:29 pm
 

Greensboro on Woods' radar screen in FedEx fight

AKRON, Ohio -- With most of the world watching this week with acute interest, a certain corner of the world will be paying attention to Tiger Woods' comeback this week for an entirely different reason.

Some will be openly rooting against him.

As he prepares to play for the first time in three months this week, Woods stands 135th in FedEx Cup points with three PGA Tour events remaining before the cutoff date for the so-called playoff series. Only the top 125 in points advance, which means two-time FedEx champion Woods needs to piece together some fast results at the Bridgestone Invitational and the PGA Championship next week in Atlanta.

Otherwise, there's only one more stop -- the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, N.C., an event that few would ever have envisioned being on Woods' radar screen.

Yet given his position at this point, and the fact that Woods would be looking at a five-week stretch when he would not be able to play on the U.S. tour, it's certainly a possibility that's been broached.

Wyndham tournament director Mark Brazil had lunch with Woods at Firestone Country Club on Wednesday, though he says they never discussed the Greensboro tournament. However, Brazil has been in touch with Mark Steinberg, Woods' agent, about the possibility of Woods playing at the second-tier tour stop.

"I think it's a really small, outside chance that he'll play here, to be honest," Brazil said Thursday. "But say he's hitting it well and not scoring, feeling pretty good about how he is playing and wants to give it a go, we'll be ready for him if he decides to come."

Greensboro is one of the oldest stops on tour, but has rarelly picked up many top players over the past decade. With the big-money FedEx series immediately following, and the Bridgestone and PGA preceeding it, the top guns usually take Wyndham week off to rest up for the toughest, busiest stretch of the year.

But Woods' camp is clearly exploring the possibility of playing.

"I have been in contact with Mark Steinberg about what the chances are and what needs to happen," Brazil said.

Brazil acknowledged that for there to be any chance for Woods to play in his event, the former world No. 1 needs to put up unimpressive numbers the next two weeks -- points are gained based on his place in the final results. Half of North Carolina will pulling against Woods when he plays at the Bridgestone and PGA, in other words.

"It's a terrible position to be in," Brazil said.

Ernie Els is another multiple major winner who is outside the top 125 in points. Over the years, the Wyndham has been helped and hurt by its spot on the calendar, but has benefitted when star players like Sergio Garcia have added the tournament to their schedules in hopes of picking up FedEx points.

"Sometimes it works for us, sometimes it works against us," Brazil said.
Posted on: September 26, 2010 1:43 pm
Edited on: September 26, 2010 2:11 pm
 

Rain dampens Watney run at FedEx miracle?

ATLANTA – In the middle of the hottest run on the PGA Tour all season, with an astounding $11.35 million potentially on the table, the weather gods are trying to cool down the blistering pace of Nick Watney .

They might the only ones capable.

The rising tour standout, who shot 30 on his front nine at the Tour Championship on Sunday to move into contention, was one stroke out of the lead at the huge-money FedEx Cup season finale when play was suspended at 1:10 p.m., ET, because of thunderstorms.

With the points in crazy fluidity – that’s not a rain joke – Watney has a chance to complete the biggest Hail Mary in these parts since Billy "White Shoes" Johnson was hauling in miracle passes for the Atlanta Falcons.

Watney started the week as an absolute also ran, in 28th place in a 30-man field. It would have taken a series of utterly improbable events for him to win the $10 million bonus for having the most FedEx points, yet when the weather horn sounded, it was looking darned possible.

Put on your thinking caps. This is some crazy, syncopated, algorhythmic fare.

Watney was 13 shots off the lead after 36 holes, then moved into marginal contention Saturday with a 7-under 28 on his back nine, a course record. Thus, he shot a spectacular 58 over his most recent, composite 18 holes before making pars at Nos. 10 and 11 Sunday when the horn sounded and players were ordered off the course.

He was one shot behind leader Jim Furyk at the time, setting up some insane statistical possibilities. Because many of the other frontrunners in the seasonal points scheme have stumbled, if Watney can pass Furyk to win and the rest of the leaderboard doesn’t change, Watney will have 2,730 points – three more than Matt Kuchar.

Kuchar entered the week first in FedEx points, yet was tied for 25th and standing on the 18th tee when the horn sounded. He needs to finish 25th or worse and Watney must win for the latter to have a chance. However, if Kuchar finishes in solo 25th and Watney wins, they will tie in points, forcing a sudden-death playoff for, gulp, the $10 million bonus.

The points runner-up gets $3 million and the tournament title itself is worth $1.38 million.

When play was suspended, Kuchar’s fate quite possibly was going to be directly affected by Steve Stricker and Bo Van Pelt, who each had several holes left. Van Pelt was tied with Kuchar in 25th and has four holes left, while Stricker – who must catch a charter flight to Wales on Sunday night to play in the Ryder Cup – was T23 and one stroke ahead of Kuchar with five holes left.

If either surges or falters, affecting the status of Kuchar in 25th on the scoreboard, they could directly help or hurt him with regard to cementing the $10 million bonus.

Category: Golf
Posted on: September 10, 2010 6:24 pm
 

Woods needs wild weekend to make FedEx finale

LEMONT, Ill. – Twelve months, 52 weeks or 365 days.

However he slices it, his result at the 2009 BMW Championship must seem like it happened a decade ago, not just a year ago.

Barely improving his overall position and playoff hopes, Tiger Woods recorded his second straight round above par in the second round at Cog Hill on Friday, putting him in a decidedly poor spot with two rounds left in the tournament.

If not his FedEx Cup season.

According to evolving PGA Tour projections, Woods needs to finish T4 or better in order to advance to the FedEx finale in Atlanta in two weeks. Woods is the defending FedEx champion, but after shooting 1-over 72 on Friday, he’s locked in a seven-way tie for 40th.

“Well, I did it last year on the weekend,” Woods said. “Hopefully, I can do it again.”

Hope might be all he has to hang onto. He moved up five spots Friday, which means at this pace, he will crack the top five ... around the time the Bob Hope Classic is played next year. Woods shot 62-68 on the weekend at Cog Hill last year to win in an eight-shot rout, but he wasn’t struggling with his game then. Woods opened with rounds of 68 and 67 last year.

Woods has hit 20 of 36 greens, ranking 60th in a 70-man field, and found only 13 of 28 fairways to rank No. 39 in that regard, a recipe for ruination on a tree-lined parkland course.

“I made nothing today,” said Woods, who echoed sentiments of others who said the greens are in awful shape. “That pretty much sums it up. I hit the ball a hell of a lot better than my score indicates.”

Woods is seven shots off the projected pace to make it to East Lake in Atlanta and said he is concentrating on the little picture, not the big one. The tour is idle next week, though Woods is facing a two-week break without a serious comeback.

“Well, I'm just trying to post good numbers, hit good shots, place the ball accordingly on the correct side of the fairways, correct side of the greens, and go from there,” he said.

He might be going home instead.

 
 
 
 
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