PGA alters playoff events, will pare fields

Published November 15, 2006

The PGA Tour announced a significant change Tuesday to its FedEx Cup playoff events in 2007 that will see the fields reduced from week to week leading up to the season-ending Tour Championship.

The Barclays Championship will start with a field of 144 and the following week the field will be reduced to 120 at the Deutsche Bank Championship. A week later, it will be down to 70 at the BMW Championship before cutting to 30 for the Tour Championship.

The FedEx Cup is being instituted by the tour in 2007 to try to create interest in a playoff format that will conclude in September. The winner of a season-long points race will earn a $10-million bonus.

Originally, the three playoff events leading into the Tour Championship were to have fields of 144. But the tour was criticized for this because other sports eliminate teams or players as their playoffs progress.

The PGA Tour Policy Board met this week in Ponte Vedra Beach and approved the change.

"I'm delighted with this direction and believe it represents an important improvement in our playoff structure," PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said in a statement. "I had recently indicated we would not be recommending any changes in our playoff structure, given that we had preliminarily announced the format earlier this year. However, the tour and a number of our players had heard from several sponsors and tournaments that going in the direction of a field size reduction was the right thing to do for the success of the FedEx Cup."

Players will earn points each week to qualify and will be reseeded based on their finish at the start of the playoffs.

Bob Harig can be reached at 727 893-8806 or harig@sptimes.com