5 min read


We usually reserve this area for something witty (most of the time it's not) but today we'd like to extend the invitation to you...let us know how we're doing...we'll take the good with the bad: news@thestartershack.com

🏋️ Is entering the Long Drive Championship a step down for Bry DeCham

🧐 Patrick Reed has pus in his lungs

🤮 Gut-wrenching shank on the final hole

⛳️ Couple of rowdy amateurs ransacked pro event


FedEx Playoff Math Ain't Easy

Who Likes Math? Not simple stuff like calculus and number theory. We are talking about FedEx Cup Playoff Math. This stuff could make Stephen Hawking feel like Forrest Gump.

Initially, the push for the FedEx Cup Playoffs was to add a NASCAR-like flourish to the end of the golf season.

A season that used to abruptly end, like the stitching on Harry Higgs’ trouser’s button. Adding a cool $10M payout to the playoff winner was the ultimate carrot.

The playoffs were initially four events following the end of the “regular season”

  • the top 144, whittled to 120, then to 70, finally ending at 30 for the Tour championship
  • Convoluted points system - only a handful of players could actually win the playoffs
  • at the Tour Championship, most players were already mathematically eliminated
  • Players moaned about the lack of volatility through the events

In 2009, some key changes were instituted:

  • Still four events as above, but with smaller fields
  • top 125 -> down to 100, then 70, finishing with 30 at Tour Championship
  • Increased points in playoff events - punished those who skipped events
  • Points reset before Tour Championship - mathematical shot of winning for everybody
  • Players in top 5 would win the FedEx playoffs with a Tour Championship win

Complaints kept filing in as there were a few instances of players winning the Tour Championship, but that didn’t always equate to winning the FedEx Cup. (insert: awkward family photos involving Tiger Woods with Phil Mickelson (2009) and Justin Rose (2018) as examples)

The latest revamp took place in 2019:

  • Down to 3 events -> top 125, down to 70, finishing with 30 at Tour Championship
  • Increased points for winning playoffs events (2000 points), higher potential volatility
  • After the second event, the “Points Leader gets a “headstart” at the Tour Championship
  • Starts at 10-under, 2nd place at 8-under, 3rd place at 7-under, 4th place at 6-under, etc.
  • A full four-round championship is then conducted with these staggered starting positions
  • Whoever wins the Tour Championship automatically wins the FedEx Cup Playoffs
  • Also a 50% increase in winner’s payout from $10M to $15M

There has been lots of noise on how to fix the playoffs even further. In its current iteration, it is an imperfect ending to an imperfect season of an imperfect game. We think that’s just par for the course.


  • What a bunch of amateurs: The Mackenzie Tour was ransacked by two rowdy amateur golfers who took first and second over the weekend. Let us remind you, the Mackenzie Tour is not a Thursday Night Beer League—it's a development tour for the Korn Ferry Tour. That didn't stop amateur Noah Steele setting fire to the first eight holes with five birdies on Sunday, cruising to a six-stroke win over fellow amateur Etienne Papineau at the Osprey Valley Open.
  • Patrick Reed has pus in his lungs: we were today years old when we discovered that you spell pus as p-u-s. Reed has been hospitalized with bilateral pneumonia...he will have to decide on whether to take the two club-length relief or go back to where he hit his original shot.
  • The FedEx playoff format can suck it: is what we read between the lines when Jon Rahm said he wasn't a fan. He quoted a PGA Tour official, the New England Patriots, a two-shot lead...we stopped listening. Not because we don't care but because the playoff format is never going to make sense. They post the tv schedule we watch it. It's like the PAG Tour is annoyed with us and just set us down in front of the TV to leave them alone.
  • FedEx Playoff format: it's explained here.
  • Gut-wrenching shank: Nanna Koerstz Madsen was tied for the lead coming down the final hole at the AIG Women's Open until this gut-wrenching shank led to a double bogey.
  • Anna Nordqvist breaks streak: when Anna tapped in her par putt she broke a streak of nine consecutive first-time major winners and ended a personal victory drought that stretches back 1,435 days when she won the 2017 Amundi Evian Championship in a playoff. Hmmm, our drought is roughly 15,695 days.
  • Milton the Golf Pro won!: our article on Saturday about Milton the Golf Pro who holed out 22 times in 85 rounds was quite fitting with Milton taking the top prize on Monday! We can't stop typing Milton, it's too much fun!


Dear Lord Baby Jesus, thank you for giving us golf and Willie Nelson and tieing them together like two braids from a country crooner who sings through his nose.


We champion the phrase on Anna Nordqvist's putter cover...except when it comes to extra spicy Caesars (Bloody Marys). Those are things you don't want to overdo, otherwise, you'll be setting fire to the first eight holes like Noah Steele, just not with birdies.

Also, take note of Anna's (we're on a first-name basis) putter ;)

Driver: Titleist TSi3 (10 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Red 60 S

3-wood: Titleist TSi2 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD DI 6 S

Hybrids: PXG 0317 X GEN2 (19, 22 degrees)
Shafts: Graphite Design Tour AD DI 75 S

Irons: Titleist T100 (2021) (5-PW)
Shafts: UST Mamiya Recoil 95 F4

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM8 (50-12F, 54-10S, 58-08M)
Shafts: Nippon NS Pro Modus3 Tour 105 S

Putter: Swag Handsome Too

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x


Every major golf publication is reporting that Bryson DeChambeau has entered a long drive championship. We would further like to add that he has also entered into the American Boxer Arcade Games Championship. It's all in the hips Bry.


Handsome Too — something we've never been accused of.

This is the putter that sits in Anna Nordqvist's bag...and it's expensive. How expensive? Let's put it this way; if you took that money and invested heavily in Busch Beer at Walmart, you could walk away with a windfall of 1,040 beers. If you bought the Handsome Too, you would walk away with one putter and a bank account $555 in overdraft.

*not a sponsored post