It’s the Superbowl and Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers are taking on Patrick Mahomes’ Kansas City Chiefs. Brady’s Buccaneers performed better in their two playoff rounds so they will start the game with 7 extra points. Makes sense, we should reward the best team prior to the start of the game. Better yet, The Los Angeles Dodgers have performed better in the playoffs than their World Series competitors the Tampa Bay Rays. They will start the seven-game series with one win. They earned an advantage because they played better. Lastly, Patrick Cantlay will start seven shots better than Collin Morikawa in the Tour Championship. 

Collin Morikawa finished the 2020-2021 PGA Tour FedEx Cup standings in first place. Over the course of 51 weeks, 50 tournaments and six major championships Morikawa earned the most FedEx Cup points on the PGA Tour. For all his hard work and fantastic play, he will start their Superbowl this week a touchdown behind the leader. I’m not one to voice my opinion on much I don’t play a hand in planning, but the current Tour Championship format raises more questions than answers in my mind. 

In 2019, the PGA Tour instituted “starting strokes” for the season ending championship tournament. To summarize, based upon your play in the previous FedEx Cup rounds, you started the Tour Championship with a lead. Patrick Cantlay will begin this week’s tournament at 10 under par. His closest competitor is Tony Finau at 8 under par and his playoff partner Bryson DeChambeau at last week’s BMW Championship starts the week at 7 under par. This starting scoring format continues through the thirty competitors. 

Tiger Woods won at an incredible rate during the height of his career. Could you imagine giving him strokes against the field! Of course not, and it’s still hard to imagine now. Many were critical of the Olympic format back in July. Why would we just have another 72-hole stroke play tournament? Well that contest produced tremendous drama and two playoffs. Speaking of playoffs, over the last two months, the PGA Tour has witnessed eight different sudden death playoffs, for five weeks in a row going back to the Olympics, involving 27 different players over 34 sudden death holes. 

If you’re looking for drama, the PGA Tour has had an amazing summer. That’s why I ask the folks in Jacksonville, why change now? You have the best players in the world competing. It’s a ridiculous 15-million-dollar purse. If calculating points is the issue, then use stroke and match play. You have options. Rest assured, PGA Tour, I won’t complain and not at least offer a viable solution or two. 

  • Keep it Going… The playoffs have been awesome this year. Keep the momentum going and just continue with a similar points system. If you want to reward great play this week or just add more volatility, increase the points for the Tour Championship. The points drama to date has been really entertaining. 
  • Down to One 15 million dollars is a huge purse. If you want one winner, and some Ryder Cup style drama, start with 36-holes of stroke play on Thursday and Friday. Take the top 16 players and make a bracket for the weekend. 36-holes each day. One eventual winner. Two players for 15 million, that would bring viewers. 
  • You Want Crazy?!? Try a shoot-out. Play 54 holes of stroke play qualifying over the first three days. Take the top 19 players and have a shoot-out on Sunday. Eliminate one player per hole until you start 18 with two guys. One hole for 15 million. Yeah, it sounds crazy, but when a staggered start went to the drawing board, did that look rational? 

The 2020-2021 PGA Tour season has been filled with amazing stories of redemption. A summer full of playoffs, six major championships with six different winners. The PGA Tour has done an amazing job leading sports back successfully through a pandemic. I give Jay Monahan’s leadership and the team in Jacksonville tremendous credit. It is obvious they aren’t opposed to trying new things. 

This week I won’t be the only one raising the Tour Championship scoring question. There’s no doubt that, when the dust settles, more discussions will take place and things will continue to evolve. Until that time… bet heavy on Cantlay for the mega money.