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AUTHOR : CHARLIE EPPS

author-charlie eppsKnown as "The Golf Doctor," Charlie Epps has been one of Houston's most respected PGA professionals for 30 years. He is the Director of Golf at Redstone Golf Club, home of the PGA Tour's Shell Houston Open.

Epps teaches two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and second-year Tour player Bobby Gates. Listen to Epps 9-10 a.m. Saturday mornings on Yahoo! Sports Radio on 1560 AM in Houston, channel 127 pm Sirius satellite and 242 XM.

He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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FedEx Cup Getting Better with Age

Written by Charlie Epps on 01 November 2009.

People have been asking me if I thought the 2009 PGA Tour FedEx Cup Playoffs were a success. I absolutely think they were. Fans were treated to four extra weeks of thrilling, competitive golf. As for the tour players...well, they had 35 million reasons to like this year's playoff system.

Not only did it give $10 million to the winner of the playoffs, an extra $25 million went to the rest of the players on tour. What most people don't realize is that the payout went from the No. 1 finisher to No. 144. So if you finished in the top 144, you shared in the FedEx prize money.

Of Tiger's $10 million winnings, $7.5 million of it came in the form of cash. The rest is deferred income after he retires from the tour. For the entire season, the tour players compete for $290 million in prize money, and there's a lot of money they can collect for their retirement.

Their retirement is very well provided for and gives them 10 years of consistent income.

The PGA Tour is working to care of its players, and that's one reason I really like the FedEx Cup format.

In 2007, the first year of the FedEx Cup, all the final prize money was deferred, but the players didn't like that. They renegotiated, and came up with the current format.

For the true golf fan, the FedEx Cup

extended the golf season past the four major championships. It produced four great tournaments, starting in New York, then Boston, then Chicago and culminating with the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta. It provided great fields and fine competition. Only one of the tour's top players didn't show up, and that was Paul Casey. The only reason he didn't play was because he was injured.

Overall, I think the FedEx Cup was a great invention, and it will do nothing but get better...as long as it continues to be funded. I think next year, the one change the tour will make is moving the off-week to after the second week of the playoffs. This year, the off week came after the third week. Next year, I can see the playoffs going for two weeks, then a week off and then finishing with back-to-back weeks to decide the champion.

So, was the FedEx Cup a success? Of course it was. You know it has to be good when Tiger Woods played in all four playoff events.

I think one of the other exciting things is the "tournament within the tournaments" because of the ever-changing points system, depending where everyone finishes. At one point, if Tiger fell below sixth place in Atlanta, he stood to lose the FedEx Cup and about $7 million. But he birdied Nos. 15 and 16 to make sure that didn't happen. A bogey there could have cost him $7 million. Most people don't know that, but the players all do.

Although he didn't win the championship, he played well enough to win the FedEx Cup and $10 million first prize.

As for Tour Championship winner Phil Mickelson, he demonstrated he has a lot of heart and is constantly working to improve his game. His victory shows all the blood, sweat and tears he put into his game despite everything he's dealing with concerning his family. It also shows what a true sports hero he is. He was always friendly on the practice tee and constantly wore a big smile for the fans.

Phil, by the way, finished his round on Saturday at East Lake and went up the highway to Athens, Ga., and watched his Arizona State team play Georgia in football. He's a big fan of Stub Hub, so he can buy tickets for sporting events wherever he is. He's a big, fun-loving American kid that loves his family, sports and life.

As the FedEx Cup Playoffs grow, the golf fans are only going to embrace it more. It's

done a great job so far, and it's only going to get better.

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