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.
The Tour Championship has been changed considerably from its previous format. Previously, there was a reshuffle of FedEx Cup points before the final event to give all golfers a mathematical chance at winning the FedEx Cup, with each of the top 6 points leaders able to win the Cup outright with a Tour Championship win. Now, instead of a points reshuffle, golfers will begin the Tour Championship with a strokes-based bonus system. The FedEx Cup points leader will now begin the Tour Championship at -10, with the next four players starting between -8 and -5, respectively. Golfers ranked 6-10 in the standings start at -4, 11-15 start at -3, 16-20 start at -2, 21-25 at -1 while golfers 26-30 start at even par. This means that whoever wins the Tour Championship will be the official FedEx Cup Champion. This simplifies the standings and removes the chance of having separate Tour Championship and FedEx Cup winners. The FedEx Cup bonus will be increased to by $25 million to $60 million, with the winner’s share increasing 50% from $10 million to $15 million.
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.