Unique is a gentle and kind way of putting it. Crazy is another. Perhaps unfair should be in the conversation.

Bill Kennedy, Golf Columnist

The way the FedEx Playoff Cup championship, which runs through Sunday in Atlanta, Georgia, has been set up makes many golf fans scratch their heads.

Two players have been given the most strokes — Scottie Scheffler (-10) and Victor Hovland (-8) — which is their reward for having played championship golf during the season, or in the case of Hovland, for capturing the BMW FedEx Playoff Tournament on Aug. 20.

A total of 30 players began this 2022-23 season-ending event Thursday with a starting score of anywhere from even-par to Scheffler’s 10-below par. This is the PGA Tour’s way of rewarding players for their accomplishments this season.

It also could be said that this is an attempt to have the winner come from the top of the FedEx standings for the season. That is why Scheffler and Hovland were the pre-tournament score leaders, with Rory McIlroy 7 under, and Jon Rahm, who was the leader of the FedEx standings most of the year, at 6 under.

While there is no public admission, it also could be said this is the PGA’s way of telling the 30 finalists that, “We do not want someone relatively unranked to win this championship.” In other words, the PGA is hoping for a big-name winner, and has been each and every year this handicap format has been in existence.


Granted, those are the rules for this event. But professional sports purists have every right to question it.

Would the National Football League start a game with one team having eight points on the scoreboard? Would Major League Baseball start a game with one team ahead by eight runs? Same with the National Basketball Association. The National Hockey League clearly could never do this, but even a one- or two-goal advantage at the start of a playoff game would make it unfair.

Is this fair to the even-par players? Certainly not. You will not hear any of them complaining, because even the player who finishes dead last at 30th place is going to have a significant pay day. And do not be fooled into thinking that this is about prestige and not about money.

So ask yourself if this would work in tennis? Hypothetically, give the four major winners a head start in each of their matches for the pro tour championship. That would be comparable to what is going on with FedEx golf. The difference is that in the tennis world, this would be unacceptable.

On another subject, this truly is a worldwide event, despite the fact that there are no players from the continent of Africa among the 30 finalists. Clearly it is dominated by Americans, but you might be surprised to learn that in “second place” is South Korea with three representatives of that country. Canada and England each have two.

Norway, Argentina, Northern Ireland, Austria and Australia have one apiece. As an individual sport, this does present an international look.


May the best man win, no matter what nation he calls home.


Maine Golf has no championship events scheduled during the upcoming week. Only Play Days.

For the men, it is Aug. 29 at Sunday River, and for the women it is a Best 2-of-4 Balls Aug. 28-29 at Fox Ridge.

Bill Kennedy, a retired New Jersey golf writer and editor now residing on Thompson Lake in Otisfield, is in his 11th season as Sun Journal golf columnist.

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