No changes in store for the FedEx Cup system

KAPALUA, HAWAII (AP) - In the last two years of the FedEx Cup playoffs, a runner-up finish for Martin Laird at The Barclays and for Chez Reavie at the Deutsche Bank Championship was enough for them to lock up a spot in the Tour Championship _ and three of the majors _ after what had been ordinary seasons.

That scenario is not likely to change for 2012.

After crunching numbers using different models, the PGA Tour has decided to leave the points structure alone for the FedEx Cup. The system was changed after each of the first three years in existence. This now is the third straight year with no tweaking.

At least not yet.

PGA Tour spokesman Ty Votaw said even though FedEx Cup points will start being awarded this week at the Tournament of Champions, changes could be made at the next policy board meeting in March, though “I would say that’s unlikely.”

The formula has been working well for the most part. The reward for a strong regular season is a high seeding going into the playoffs, which translates to better odds of reaching the Tour Championship. And there’s still plenty of volatility for a high finish in the playoff events, as Reavie showed last year and Laird did in 2010.

Points are worth five times as much in the playoffs. Votaw said tour officials looked at how the standings would be if points were only tripled, or quadrupled, and didn’t see anything worth changing.

“Going down to four (times the points) doesn’t change a whole lot. We don’t think going down to three changes much,” Votaw said. “There has to be some premium on funneling down to the playoffs. The whole question of volatility has been a vexing one from the start. But we think the last three years have been good.”

Volatility was evident all the way to the end last year. Bill Haas narrowly got into the Tour Championship as the No. 25 seed, then won the $10 million bonus by winning the Tour Championship with most of the top players in the standings faltering.

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RANKING THE TOURS: The first month of the golf season is when American players typically complain about the world ranking, either how many spots they dropped since they last played or how many more points are available on the European Tour. Over the course of the season, though, the PGA Tour remains the strongest, and their players will have ample opportunity.

The average ranking points awarded to PGA Tour winners last year was 54.05, compared with 43.78 points for European Tour winners. Throw out the four majors and four World Golf Championships, and the average points for PGA Tour winners was 46.94 compared with 35.12 in Europe.

There were only nine weeks when European Tour events offered more world ranking points _ Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Malaysian Open, World Match Play, Wentworth, Scottish Open, Dunhill Links Championship, Madrid Masters and Andalucia Masters. Of those last three tournaments, two were opposite Fall Series events in America, and the last one was opposite the U.S. tour’s Asia Pacific Championship.

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NOT A TOTAL LOSS: Dustin Johnson, Fredrik Jacobson and Brandt Snedeker didn’t make it to Kapalua for the Tournament of Champions, though $59,000 will make it into their bank accounts.

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