FedExCup 101: A Guide to the PGA Tour Playoffs

FedExCup 101: A Guide to the PGA Tour Playoffs
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With the PGA Tour having dramatically overhauled the FedExCup Playoffs in 2019, here’s a helpful primer on the postseason:

You may ask yourself, “These are not my usual playoffs. This is not my normal Tour Championship. How did I get here?” 

The PGA Tour first staged the FedExCup Playoffs in 2007. The postseason has undergone a series of tweaks in the intervening years. This is the 14th edition of the playoffs and the first in which there will can only be one champion crowned at East Lake. We’ll get to that in a moment. 

How many events are there?

Previously consisting of four events, the postseason slate has been trimmed to three as part of the Tour’s scheduling overhaul. The playoffs now consist of The Northern Trust, BMW Championship and Tour Championship. The top 125 players on the FedExCup points list qualify for The Northern Trust. Thereafter, the top 70 move on to the BMW and the top 30 advance to the finale, where the Tour has made some serious changes.

OK, so how does the Tour Championship work now?

Where prior to last year’s change you could have separate Tour Championship and FedExCup winners, there is only one now. Whoever wins at East Lake is also crowned FedExCup champion.

What do you mean weighted?

Right, this might sound a little odd, but the Tour Championship doesn’t work like any other PGA Tour event. Players are going to start with an advantage (or disadvantage) based on their season-long performance. This will be reflected in the number of strokes they are spotted prior to the tournament. 

How does that work?

The No. 1 player on the FedExCup points list after the BMW Championship is going to start the Tour Championship at 10 under par. Nos. 2-5 will start at 8 under, 7 under, 6 under and 5 under, respectively. From there, Nos. 6-10 will start a 4 under, Nos. 11-15 at 3 under, Nos. 16-20 at 2 under, Nos. 21-25 at 1 under and Nos. 26-30 at even par.

So what would that look like?

Just like this:

10 under: Dustin Johnson

8 under: Jon Rahm

7 under: Justin Thomas

6 under: Webb Simpson

5 under: Collin Morikawa

4 under: Daniel Berger, Harris English, Bryson DeChambeau, Sungjae Im, Hideki Matsuyama

3 under: Brendon Todd, Rory McIlroy, Patrick Reed, Xander Schauffele, Sebastian Munoz

2 under: Lanto Griffin, Scottie Scheffler, Joaquin Niemann, Tyrrell Hatton, Tony Finau

1 under: Kevin Kisner, Abraham Ancer, Ryan Palmer, Kevin Na, Marc Leishman

Even par: Cameron Smith, Viktor Hovland, Mac Hughes, Cameron Champ, Billy Horschel

Alrighty, then. They still playing for a lot of money?

They are. The FedExCup payout pool has been raised from a total of $35 million to $60 million, with the winner now in line for a $15 million windfall.

Where are these tournaments played?

The Northern Trust at TPC Boston and the BMW Championship at Olympia Fields (those two events rotate courses annually); and the Tour Championship, as always, at East Lake GC in Atlanta.

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