Woods victory caps largely successful FedExCup series

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Los Angeles, Sep 18: The PGA Tour's much-trumpeted ''new era'' delivered enthralling golf in the inaugural FedExCup playoff series but a predictable script with Tiger Woods emerging as the overall champion.

Despite missing the opening leg of the lucrative four-event finale, Woods won the last two tournaments to secure the $10 million retirement bonus.

The world number one ended his 2007 PGA Tour campaign by romping to an eight-shot victory at the Tour Championship in Atlanta on Sunday.

Although various elements of the FedExCup have been criticised by the players, the general consensus has been positive as long as a few adjustments are made for the future.

''Overall, the FedExCup was a success,'' Woods told reporters after clinching his seventh title of the year.

''There need to be some tweaks but I think overall it provided a lot of drama towards the end of the season, especially post-PGA (Championship) when most of the guys shut it down.'' The first three playoff events unfolded in spectacular fashion.

American Steve Stricker clinched the Barclays Classic with birdies on the last three holes before Phil Mickelson triumphed by two strokes at the Deutsche Bank Championship after a thrilling head-to-head with Woods.

Predictably, Woods responded at the BMW Championship, delivering a peerless display in a final-round 63 to seal a two-shot victory.

The main criticism Woods has of the FedExCup is that a playoff series should start with fewer than the 144 players who teed off in the first round of the Barclays Classic.

EXEMPT PLAYERS

''When you have 125 exempt players on Tour and your first event is 144 guys, you're supposed to narrow it up, not have more players,'' he said.

''When you have 10 per cent over what you do on the exempt player list starting off at the first event, I think that's too many.'' Another criticism focused on the fact that only six players entered the final event in Atlanta with an opportunity to win the 10 million dollars deferred bonus. Of those, only Woods, Mickelson and Stricker had realistic chances.

''You've got to reward the guys that play all four tournaments and have more guys have a chance the last week,'' American Mark Calcavecchia said after tying for second place at the Tour Championship.

Mickelson, Ernie Els and other players complained about the hectic schedule with the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, the PGA Championship and four successive playoff events taking place in seven weeks.

Although the PGA Tour has been criticised for not keeping the players fully informed about scheduling, Tour commissioner Tim Finchem believes this is largely unfair.

''If there has been a failing in any area, I take responsibility for it,'' he said at the Tour Championship. ''I feel reasonably comfortable but in a couple of areas we probably could have done more.''

Reuters>

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