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PGA Tour looking at FedEx points distribution

April 20, 2016

The money list is getting plenty of attention at PGA Tour headquarters this year.

The tour's policy board last month finally voted to eliminate the money list for exempt status for the following season. The top 125 have been fully exempt since 1983, and if the latest proposal is ratified at the June board meeting, only the top 125 in the FedEx Cup standings will be fully exempt after the 2016-17 season.

But more work lies ahead.

Andy Pazder, the chief of operations, said the tour is looking into a change in the way points are distributed at each tournament so there is a steeper drop beyond the top 10. Since the FedEx Cup began in 2007, it has been out of sync with the money distribution.

One issue with the FedEx Cup has been the perception that it rewards a middle-of-the-road performance. One player who stood out, through no fault of his own, was William McGirt in 2011. McGirt had only three finishes in the top 30 in during the regular season - his best was a tie for 19th in Mexico - and he grabbed the 125th and final spot for the start of the playoffs.

McGirt tied for 24th in The Barclays to advance to the next playoff event before his FedEx Cup run ended in Boston. That was before the wraparound season began, when only the top 125 on the money list earned their cards. McGirt had to play four times in the fall to try to move into the top 125. He finished 141st and had to go back to the old Q-school (and he made it).

That's just one example.

What causes the tour to look at the distribution are questions whether top finishes are properly rewarded.

Here's the best money-to-points example for a $5.9 million purse. A player who finished ninth and missed the cut would earn $171,000, while a player who had a pair of 30th-place finishes would make $80,240. But if FedEx Cup points were applied, the player with a pair of 30th-place finishes would have more points (82) than the player who was ninth (80) and missed the cut.

For money, the tour has operated on a model in which the winner gets 18 percent of the purse. But assuming only 70 players made the cut in a regular PGA Tour event, 3513 points are distributed, meaning the winner gets only 14.24 percent.

The tour has not indicated what kind of formula it is looking at it, but the goal is to be more top-heavy with points.

One other glaring example: The difference in points between finishing fifth and seventh is equal to the difference in finishing 30th and 50th.

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