photo credit: Keyur Kamar/PGA Tour
The PGA Tour has announced that the Tour’s postseason is getting a complete overhaul for the new 2019 season. This is a welcome change for most golf fans who have long criticized the complex nature of the current FedEx Cup Playoffs. The current format has now provided a FedEx Cup Champion who did not actually win the Tour Championship in the 2018 and 2017 editions, making the Tour Championship not a true championship. Other criticisms have been that the point structure and gradual cuts often allow top golfers to simply sit out of the first FedEx Cup Playoff event and still qualify for the second event. These and other issues have been addressed by the new rule changes.
One change to the process comes in the end of the regular season with the Wyndham Rewards Top 10. This is a $10 million prize fund that is doled out to the top 10 FedEx Cup points leaders at the end of the regular season. The idea is to further incentivize regular season performance by better rewarding golfers who perform well throughout the year and who take very few weekends off. The 1st place finisher will receive $2million, with the second place finisher still winning $1.5 million and the 10th place golfer netting half a million.
The first significant change to the postseason is the reduction of playoff events from 4 to 3, with the Dell Technologies Championship getting the axe. The FedEx Cup will also conclude earlier, ending in August before Labor Day. The new schedule will begin the same as the current format, with the top 125 FedEx Cup points leaders competing in the Northern Trust. The field will then be cut down to 70 for the BMW Championship and 30 for the Tour Championship. The drastic cut from 125 to 70 golfers adds more incentive for all eligible golfers to compete in the Northern Trust. All playoff events remain worth 4x the points of regular PGA Tour events, making the first event even more important as golfers look to make the cut for the BMW Championship.
The Tour Championship has also 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.