New Sympatico Column: Call An Actuary — It's the FedEx Cup

My latest Sympatico column went live yesterday — and covers the continued problems facing the FedEx Cup.  You can read a couple of graphs below or the full column here.

Here’s a taste:

Is the third time the charm?

That’s the question facing the PGA Tour’s annual FedEx Cup, its manufactured play-off designed to pump some interest into its tournaments after the enthusiasm “ and the year’s last major “ has petered out.

From the start the system has been convoluted and overly complex. The first year saw Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson both skip one of the four playoff tournaments largely because they could. Then someone “ Tiger again? “ complained that the $10-million first-place prize, which was an annuity that kicked in upon retirement, didn’t exactly have the cachet of a big cheque presented to the winner. Who knows why he complained “ perhaps his jet needed some new upholstery or Privacy needed some new curtains.
Regardless, the tour recognized the annuity was a non-starter and quickly moved away from the concept and awarded cold hard cash ($9-million plus an annuity of $1-million.) That means last year’s winner, Vijay Singh, with more than $61-million in career earnings, didn’t have to use Money Mart to hold him over while he waited for his annuity to kick in. Oh, and by the way, all Singh needed to do to win the FedEx Cup last year was finish the final event, regardless of how far he was down the leaderboard. Now that was surely not what the PGA Tour had in mind.


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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

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