LA QUINTA, Calif. -- Virtually untouched for the last four years, the points system for the FedExCup playoffs might see a minor change this year.
PGA Tour officials are looking into reducing the value of points that are awarded during the playoff events to allow for big moves in the standings -- after all, the idea is to reward whoever is playing the best golf -- without players making too big of a jump.
Officials have not decided whether to tinker with a system that has worked well since 2008, when Padraig Harrington won two majors and didn't qualify for the Tour Championship and Vijay Singh effectively wrapped up the $10 million bonus before getting to East Lake.
At issue is whether players are being rewarded too much without winning.
Martin Laird was at No. 95 when the playoffs began in 2010. He was runner-up at The Barclays, which guaranteed him a spot in the Tour Championship (and three of majors the following year). Kevin Streelman was at No. 102 and tied for third, and he made it to the Tour Championship despite not finishing in the top 40 of the next two events. A year later, Chez Reavie was No. 87 after the first event, was runner-up at the Deutsche Bank Championship, and that got him to East Lake.
Points count five times as much in the playoffs to produce some volatility. The tour is discussing whether points at triple the value, or quadruple the value, would allow for volatility in the playoffs without someone getting into the Tour Championship based on one high finish.
MICKELSON DEBUT: Phil Mickelson starts his season at the Humana Challenge this week in the California desert, and he's as optimistic as ever. The four-time major champion said he had a couple of breakthroughs during the offseason, particularly with his putting.
Mickelson switched to a claw grip last year. He said he worked hard during his break on technique, along with the equipment. He started using Callaway's new Versa line of putters that are painted with bold black and white stripes, which he believes will help him think less about alignment and more about the speed.
''It helps me not to be so technical at address,'' he said during a conference call for the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, where he will go for a record-tying fifth win next month. ''I'm able to get out into the putt. ... It has allowed me to putt without thinking.''
Mickelson says he has been sick for the last week, which has curtailed his practice. He was planning to go out to the desert on Monday, but chose to stay home to rest and practice until traveling on Wednesday.
DIVOTS: Eight players will be starting the year by playing three straight tournaments: Tommy Gainey, Matt Kuchar, Carl Pettersson, Webb Simpson, Scott Stallings, Kyle Stanley, Johnson Wagner and Mark Wilson. ... Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw have been chosen to design the Trinity Forest Golf Course, to be built on a landfill in Dallas. The course is part of a project that will include a short course, a practice facility, teaching center for The First Tee of Dallas and practice academy for the SMU golf teams. It also is expected to be the new home of the Byron Nelson Championship when its contract with TPC Las Colinas expires. ... Seung-yul Noh has signed with International Sports Management. He also is among the players who have signed with Nike. ... Ryo Ishikawa has ended his equipment deal with Yonex and now is with Callaway. ... Rees Jones has been selected to receive the Donald Ross Award by the American Society of Golf Course Architects. Jones is a past president of the ASGCA.
STAT OF THE WEEK: Padraig Harrington said his New Year's resolution was going to give only ''yes'' or ''no'' answers. His first answer in his first news conference was 522 words.
FINAL WORD: ''I'm against it, but whatever they say the rule will be or might be, I'll go with it. I'm a golfer. I'm not making the rules. I want to honor the game, wherever it takes us.'' -- Ernie Els on the proposed rule to ban anchored strokes.