The FedEx Cup Playoffs are here, which means we’re 1) approaching the end of the Tour season and 2) some player is about to earn $10 million. Here is everything you need to know about the structure, participants and points for the 10-year old system that is ever-changing.
1) Players earn FedEx Cup points in PGA Tour events starting with the Safeway Open and ending with the Wyndham Championship with a tiered system similar to the prize money payouts. They can also earn points at World Golf Championship events, the Masters, the British Open, the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship. Currently, Hideki Matsuyama is at the top of the points standings with 2,869 points. At the beginning of the playoffs, the point system changes. Instead of 500 points awarded for winning a regular Tour event, winners of any playoff event are awarded 2,000 points. Therefore, players gain ground quicker than normal.
2) The four events that comprise the FedEx Cup are The Northern Trust, the Dell Technologies Championship, the BMW Championship and the Tour Championship. The Northern Trust kicks off with 125 players according to their FedEx Cup points ranking (though multiple players in good standing will take the week off). The field is whittled down to 100 at the Dell Technologies Championship (according, as always, to the FedEx Cup standings) and then 70 at the BMW. The final event will be comprised of the top 30 players. Before the finale, point totals are reset, so the points leader will tee off with 2,000 points, second place with 1,800 and on down the list. This setup allows for more players to be in contention in the season finale. In 2014, Billy Horschel won the BMW and Tour Championships en route to the title after beginning the playoffs ranked 69th. He was the lowest-ranked player entering the playoffs to win. Rory McIlroy is the defending champion.
3) Money is the big draw of the event. The bonus for winning the FedEx Cup is $10 million. Tiger Woods is the career earnings leader in the playoffs with $25.28 million won on the back of a 2007 and 2009 victory that netted him $10 million each. In 2015, Jordan Spieth won the FedEx Cup adding the $10 million prize to his PGA Tour-record $12,030,465 in earnings for a total of more than $22 million that year. Not a bad year at all.