The FedEx Cup championship can be regarded as a PGA Tour fifth major, because it pays so well. The winner will receive $18 million, the largest championship golf prize in tour history.

From this standpoint, however, it is a flawed event, because Scottie Scheffler got to start the Tour Championship on Thursday with a 10-under-par score. Granted, he was the FedEx points standings leader going into the weekend tournament at East Lake in Atlanta, Georgia. But he was well-paid during the 2021-22 season for that accomplishment.

Bill Kennedy, Golf Columnist

And why did Patrick Cantlay, who was the second-place finisher in the FedEx points standings and winner of the BMW Classic on Aug. 21, have to begin this tournament two strokes behind Scheffler at 8-under-par?

Also, Scheffler began the four-day event 10 strokes ahead of five players — KH Lee, JT Poston, Sahith Theegala, Adam Scott and Aaron Wise. Plus, he had at least a two-stroke lead on every player in the 30-man field.

It begs the question. Does an NFL postseason game begin with the regular season champion possessing a 10-point lead? How about an NBA or Major League Baseball postseason contest? In team playoff competition, such an idea would be considered outrageous.

You could be saying to yourself that golf is an individual sport, for most part, so it is different. You would be correct that there is a difference.

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But, then ask, what is the biggest tournament in the world of pro tennis, another major individual sport? Wimbledon or the U.S. Open? Does the No. 1 seed in those events receive some kind of a lead in matches of any round? Of course not.

The PGA is allowing this, because FedEx is willing to put up money, which is off the charts by PGA standards. The flaw is that this format represents a scoring gimmick, which is not done in any other professional golf tournament.

Probably there are many golf fans who enjoy the weekend and find it unique, but this writer, who has played all kinds of sports, individual and team, is not a fan of it.

Quietly, it probably is the contention of the five players who started the tournament at even-par, that they worked just as hard as Scheffler to make it to the FedEx top 30, so why should they have had to begin the tournament, trailing Scheffler by 10 strokes?

They will not complain publicly, because they know there will be a great payday, but that does not mean they approve of it.

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David Luce off Poland Spring (76-73—149, tied for fifth) and Dave Whitman of Norway (78-71—149, T5) posted this area’s best scores in the 61st Maine State Golf Association Senior Amateur held Aug. 23-24 at Purpoodock in a field of 126.

They were trailed by Guy Lanning of Sugarloaf (78-74—152, T13), along with Roland Myers of Martindale (76-78—154, T15) and William Meggison of Spring Meadow (78-76—154, T15). Bobby Myers of Martindale (77-83—160, T44) and George Goodspeed of Spring Meadows (82-78—160, T44) plus Jim Macklin of Bridgton Highlands (79-87—166, T70) were ranked finishers.

The average age of the field was 60.6 and the average handicap index was 6.9. Truman Libby of Springbrook (89-87—176) was the event’s oldest player at 70.

Purpoodock had 18 players, the most in the tournament, while Martindale was fifth with five. The field contained players from 12 of Maine’s 16 counties.

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The MSGA’s championship season for women will conclude Sept. 13-14 at Riverside, the site of the Senior Women’s Amateur. A Women’s Play Day will be Sept. 6 at The Meadows, and Men’s Play Days will be Sept. 2-3 at Norway.

 

Bill Kennedy, a retired New Jersey golf writer and editor now residing on Thompson Lake in Otisfield, is in his 10th season as Sun Journal golf columnist. 


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