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Players unhappy with FedExCup deferred payments

Forget the deferred payments and the PGA's Wannamaker Trophy sitting on a stand at the first tee box, Tiger Woods says all the enticement he needs is someone to show him the money.

"How great would it be like in the World Series of Poker, at the first tee starting the first day of the Tour Championship, all you see is (10 million dollars cash) stacked up there and that's what we're playing for. That would create a lot of buzz," Woods said.

Speaking on the eve of the BMW Championship, Woods and others are not pleased with the format for the PGA's new FedEx Cup playoff series.

The top players are not happy that the 10 million dollar winner's prize of the four-tournament playoff series is a deferred annuity that cannot be collected until the player turns 45.

Woods said Wednesday that he could be dead before he gets a chance to spend the money.

"It's not the true payout," he said. "I may not be around to collect it.

South African Ernie Els was the most vocal on Wednesday, publicly exposing the growing rift between the world's top players and the PGA Tour.

Els claimed the tour and the players were growing further apart.

He said the players had little or no input into decisions made by the tour, particularly concerning the playoff series, which comprises four consecutive events, one too many it seems for most of the game's box office draws.

"I just feel in certain ways we've kind of grown apart a little bit, especially the players and the commissioner's office," the South African said. "We've grown apart because of all these big decisions that were made without the real knowledge of the players."

Els said he and the others were surprised to learn that the lion's share of the prize money wouldn't be available for decades.

"I don't think Tiger (Woods) knew about it, Phil (Mickelson) didn't know about it, I didn't know about it," Els said. "We're going to see that money hopefully 20 or 25 years down the line.

"We love what the tour has done for us but we just need to get closer to the big decisions, because then we won't get into problems down the line."

If the first year of the playoff series has shown anything, it's that most of the top players are not prepared to play four weeks in a row.

Woods skipped the first event, Els the second, while Phil Mickelson, who has also expressed disappointment with commissioner Tim Finchem, and Padraig Harrington are missing this week.

"We all didn't think it was in the best interests of us players to play that much," Woods said. "It's a lot of golf and these are all big events."

Mickelson is coming off a huge victory at the Deutsche Bank Championship, near Boston, on Monday, where he was finally able to fend off Woods for a title.

Meanwhile, Ian Poulter, one of three British players in this week's field, knows exactly what he needs to do to advance to next week's Tour Championship, when the field will comprise just 30 players.

"I have to finish first or tied second," he said. "I'm playing great. I hit 88 percent of fairways last week and was right up there in greens in regulation.

"I've just got to hole a few putts. I didn't hole anything last week. I've done some good putting work over the last couple of days."

Poulter is joined in the 66-man field by compatriots Justin Rose and Luke Donald.


September 6, 2007

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