How to Understand FedEx Cup Scoring

As I type, the Tour Championship is under way at East Lake in Atlanta, GA.  On the line of course is the $10 million cash payout for the FedEx Cup Champion.  If any golfer inside the top five wins this weekend, they are automatically the FedEx Cup Champion.  With some luck and stellar play, some of the guys lurking in the 6-10 spots have an outside chance at claiming the prize as well.

While I’m sure the drama will be plentiful on Sunday afternoon on the back nine, I’d like to take one second and use NASCAR’s scoring system as example of a way to really crown the true “season champion.” Several years ago, NASCAR instituted its own playoff system, “The Chase.”  The first 26 races of the season would determine who qualified for the top 12 spots for the final 10 races.  Points would reset and the final ten races would provide some seriously aggressive driving. Throughout the season, drivers were awarded points for their finishes, but the champion sometimes was still decided before the final race as a result of silly point distributions.  After seeing this, NASCAR stepped in and restructured its scoring system into a reverse points total format.  The NASCAR scoring system can be seen here.  Put simply, if you win the race you receive 43 points.  If you finish 43rd, 1 point.  There are other opportunities to earn bonus points through laps led and qualifying as well.

Now, apply that same system to the FedEx Cup playoffs:

  • Once the cut is determined, the winner finishes with 70.  Dead last on the weekend, 1 point.
  • For higher profile tournaments such as the 4 majors, The Players and WGC events, add an additional five points to the final total for each golfer.
  • Now to really make things interesting, add bonus points for leaders in certain statistical categories.  Greens in regulation, fairways hit, putt per round and scrambling leaders all receive an additional point.

Instead of having these ridiculous points leader boards that features the top player with 5,000 some odd points, keep it simple for us golfers who don’t like to count past 4 to begin with!  Once the top 125 is set for the playoffs, reset all points to zero and let the boys have it.  In my opinion this creates a recipe for some of the most competitive and aggressive golf possible by the best players in the world.  In a system where truly every drive, chip and putt counts, viewers will not be disappointed.