x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

FedEx Cup golf champions continue to flop after big payday

Because of less-effective play or injury, past champions such as Tiger Woods, Jim Furyk and Vijay Singh missed defending their FedEx Cup title.

In the sixth iteration of the event, Brandt Snedeker became the first defending champion to qualify for the 30-man field in the season after he won the FedEx title. Michael Cohen / Getty Images
In the sixth iteration of the event, Brandt Snedeker became the first defending champion to qualify for the 30-man field in the season after he won the FedEx title. Michael Cohen / Getty Images

They are, respectively, the most lucrative days in the sport. Take home the season-long title on the European or PGA tours and a player not only owns a nice chunk of chrome but a massive wad of cash to fill it with.

That is not all the hardware bling can bring.

Surely, there are padded couches and receptive psychologists capable of plumbing the depth of this sports malady, but over the past few years, an interesting phenomenon has taken root among the winners. The curse of first.

On the US tour, the FedEx Cup points winner gets a bonus of US $10 million (Dh37.6m). But taking home a barrel of cash has not been a harbinger of comparable prosperity.

In fact, Brandt Snedeker achieved a surprising tournament first in 2013. In the sixth iteration of the event, Snedeker became the first defending champion to qualify for the 30-man field in the season after he won the FedEx title.

Because of less-effective play or injury, past champions such as Tiger Woods, Jim Furyk and Vijay Singh missed defending. In fact, Singh and Furyk have not won another tournament, period, since taking home the $10m – over a combined eight-year span.

The last two victors of the $1.5m Race to Dubai bonus, Luke Donald and Rory McIlroy, remain winless in 2013.

Sure, career years are hard to replicate. But for whatever reason, backward as it seems, do the biggest of paydays come at a price?

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