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The Tour Championship format stinks, it’s really as simple as that. The vast majority of golf fans, media members, and the 30 players in the tournament field mostly agree that the staggered start doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Even Scottie Scheffler, the man starting this week’s playoff finale with a two-shot advantage isn’t a fan.
Given that the entire point of the FedEx Cup Playoffs is to identify the best golfer of the PGA Tour season, giving players strokes on the field feels amateurish, especially when the winner takes home a check for $18 million.
Scheffler is the odds-on favorite to earn the gigantic payday, but that doesn’t mean he loves the tournament’s format.
“I wouldn’t say that it is the best format to identify the best golfer for the year,” Scheffler said Wednesday.
“I mean, I get it, it’s made for TV. It may be more exciting for the fans to have this type of format. But as players, I think it’s not the best identifier of who is playing the best throughout the year. But with that being said, I’m starting this week with a 2-shot lead and, I mean, I’m not complaining about it.”
“It’s pretty nice. And we’re playing for a lot of money this week, and I’m very grateful for that. But as far as identifying the best player throughout the year, I don’t think it’s the best format.”
Scheffler was by far and away the most consistent player on the PGA Tour this season, hence his two-shot head start, but he earned two wins in 2023 while Jon Rahm earned four, including the Masters, yet starts in fourth this week and four shots back of Scheffler.
“Jon Rahm played some of the best golf of anybody this year and he’s coming into this tournament fourth and he’s 4 shots back. And, in theory, he could have won 20 times this year and he would only have a 2-shot lead,” Scheffler explained.
It’s a spot-on, very honest opinion from Scheffler. He certainly won’t be upset if he runs away with this week’s Tour Championship and sees that direct deposit hit his bank account shortly after, but it doesn’t mean that the staggered format is the best option.
The best option is a match-play tournament to end the year. Give the top players in the standings a bye into the second round to award them for their consistent play throughout the year, but from there on it’s a head-to-head battle for $18 million.
Follow Mark Harris on Twitter @ItIsMarkHarris