The FedEx Cup is trophy awarded to the golfer who has accumulated the most points on the PGA Tour following the regular season and play-offs.
The PGA Tour, the most fiercely contested tour in golf, consists of weekly golf tournaments occurring between October and August. Golfers are not expected to compete in every event. However, in order to win more money and points, golfers often compete in as many tournaments as they can.
Points are distributed to golfers based upon the position they finish and the prestige of the tournaments. For example, regular PGA Tour events net 500 points for the winner and World Golf Championship events award 550 points for the golfer with the lowest score. The most rewarding tournaments are the four Majors - the Masters, the US Open, the British Open, and the PGA Championship - and the Players Championship which award 600 points to the winner. Golfers in the top 85 of each tournament are eligible for points, and players who are tied share points equally. For example, if 3 golfers are tied for 10th place, than the point totals for 10th, 11th, and 12th are added up, divided by 3 and given to the tied golfers.
The FedEx Cup play-offs began in 2007 and consist of four tournaments played to determine the overall point leader and FedEx Cup winner. The point totals change drastically in the play-offs to quadruple the amount of regular PGA Tour events. This means that not only can the winner of a play-off event earn 2,000 points, but each golfer who makes it to the play-offs has at least a mathematical chance at claiming the FedEx Cup.
The Northern Trust is the first play-off and takes place in late August. It is open to the top 125 point leaders following the regular season. After the Northern Trust, the top 100 players are then invited to the second play-off event, the Dell Technologies Championship held in September. And a week later, the BMW Championship provides the penultimate play-off tournament as the top 70 golfers battle it out to compete for the FedEx Cup in the Tour Championship.
Following the BMW Championship, the top 30 point leaders qualify to play for the Tour Championship. At this stage, the points totals are reset to provide a more level playing field. The current point leader is awarded 2,000 points, the next is given 1,800 point, all the way down to the 30th golfer who begins the tournament with only 115 points. The reason for the reshuffle is to provide for a more competitive Tour Championship, ensuring that many golfers have a realistic chance at winning. In fact, any of the top 5 golfers will automatically win the FedEx Cup by winning the Tour Championship.
The golfer with the highest point total following the Tour Championship is declared the FedEx Cup winner. In addition to receiving the trophy itself and the many accolades, FedEx Cup winners also take home $10 million and receive a 5 year exemption to the PGA Tour, meaning their status on the tour is safe for the next 5 seasons.
The addition of the FedEx Cup in 2007 has made the end of the PGA Tour a much more competitive affair, and golfers and fans alike appreciate the cutthroat nature of the tournaments.