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‘I don’t think it’s fair’: Jon Rahm criticizes FedEx Cup playoffs format

Jon Rahm looks down the fairway during a golf tournament

Though he’s never won a FedEx Cup, Jon Rahm has reaped plenty of financial benefits from the playoff system. Last year, Rahm finished fourth — good enough to pocket a whopping $3 million bonus. He was T12 in 2019 ($682,000), 23rd in 2018 ($210,000) and 5th in 2017 ($1 million) — not a bad haul! But as the current 36-hole leader of The Northern Trust, and one of the favorites to win the top bonus of $15 million in this year’s edition of the FedEx Cup, Rahm says he isn’t satisfied with the current playoff format.

“I don’t like it,” Rahm said after firing a second-round 67 (four under) at Liberty National. “I don’t think it’s fair.

“I think you have the Playoffs itself and win the first two, and if you don’t play good on the last one, you don’t — you can end up with a really bad finish,” Rahm continued. “I don’t like it. I understand the system, and the way I was told by one of the PGA Tour officials, I’m a Patriots fan, and the Patriots win the Super Bowl — win everything, and get to the Super Bowl and they don’t win the Super Bowl, you don’t win the Lombardi Trophy, right. My answer was, they still finished second. They have to understand golf is a little different.”

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In the current FedEx Cup playoff format, players accrue points during the regular season to earn their way in to this week’s tournament, The Northern Trust, which features the top 125 points-earners on Tour. Players who remain ranked in the Top 70 move on to the BMW Championship, where there is no cut. After the BMW, the top 30 players earn a spot in the Tour Championship, where there is a points reset. The top players are given a stroke advantage over the rest of the field. For example, the top points-earner starts the tournament at 10 under, second place at eight under, third place at seven under, and so on. The players ranked 26-30 start at even par.

According to Rahm, while the Tour Championship reset makes things more exciting for the average golf fan, it has plenty of potential to fall short in recognizing the player who had the best overall season.

“At the end of the day you could win 15 events, including both Playoffs events, and you have a two-shot lead,” Rahm said. “I understand it’s for TV purposes and excitement and just making it more of a winner-take-all, and they give you a two-shot advantage, but over four days that can be gone in two holes, right. I don’t know what system is best. I do like going to East Lake with this new one in the sense of knowing where you stand and what you have to do. You know, the years prior, so many different combinations of what could happen. It was kind of hard to get your head focused on one thing, right. But I do think — you know, I don’t think it’s a fair system in that sense now, but it’s the one we have and it’s what we’ve got to deal with.”

As the fifth-ranked player in the FedEx Cup standings, a win this week would vault Rahm into the top spot for the BMW Championship — and an even better chance of claiming that two-shot lead at East Lake.

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